Thursday, May 13, 2021

Amazon: Foe or devil?

Nick Barrickman and Jerry White (WSWS) cover a worker's death that a corporation is attempting to blackout:

A conspiracy of silence surrounds the May 6 death of an Amazon employee at the BHM1 fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama, a week after the story broke. The worker, whose name has not been revealed to the public, reportedly died last Thursday after suffering a “personal medical incident.” The worker was reportedly found unconscious in the bathroom of the BHM1 warehouse and before being transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Bloomberg first reported the news and said the worker collapsed at the facility, citing unnamed sources.
Calls placed by the World Socialist Web Site International Amazon Workers Voice (IAWV) with the Jefferson County Coroner’s office, the Bessemer police and fire departments as well as the University of Alabama Medical Hospital, the nearest location an injured BHM1 employee would likely be transported, did not uncover any information about the worker’s identity or the circumstances of his death.

Annie Palmer (CNBC) reported on the death last week:

The worker died Thursday after collapsing at the facility, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the news. The worker was taken to a hospital after being found in a bathroom of the warehouse, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Workers at the Bessemer warehouse, known as BHM1, voted against joining the RWDSU last month. Of the 3,215 ballots cast, 1,798 workers opposed the union and 738 voted in favor.
The RWDSU challenged the results of the election and filed objections with federal labor officials alleging Amazon illegally interfered with the union drive. Amazon denied that its conduct was improper.
On Friday, the National Labor Relations Board held a hearing on the objections. The hearing is slated to continue on Monday.

Lisa Fickenscher (NEW YORK POST) noted:


An Amazon worker at an Alabama warehouse claimed the e-tailing giant has been getting tougher with employees since it won a contentious labor vote there last month.
Darryl Richardson — a picker at the facility in Bessemer, Ala., that played host to the closely watched vote — testified at a Monday hearing that Amazon is now enforcing certain rules and policies after looking the other way when they were voting whether or not to unionize.
“Amazon is writing employees up for having their phone [out of their pockets], for damaged parts, missing items,” Richardson said during the video hearing before the National Relations Labor Board. “They are doing that now. They were not doing this during the election period.”
Richardson, who has worked at the facility since March 2020 and is still employed there, helped to organize workers on behalf of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. He was the union’s first witness in the hearing, which is expected to last a week or two, according to a RWDSU spokeswoman.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Thursday:

 Thursday, May 13, 2021. Finally an Iraqi activist's assassination over the weekend gets attention from a US newspaper, protests continue in Iraq, and much more.

Over the weekend, Ihab Jawad al-Wazni was assassinated in Iraq, one of many assassinated since the October Revolution began in the fall of 2019.  Yesterday, THE WASHINGTON POST became the first US paper to note this assassination.  Louisa Loveluck and Mustafa Salim report:

The killings take place in public and are captured on surveillance footage. Those videos are then watched by millions. But even if the gunmen are identified, no one is prosecuted, and the cycle starts again.

Across Baghdad and southern Iraq, a rising tide of attacks on activists and journalists is alarming what remains of a protest movement that has demanded the ouster of Iraq’s U.S.-molded political system and the usually Iran-linked armed groups that prop it up.

Mass street demonstrations were crushed last year with deadly force, often by paramilitary groups that the protesters have denounced. Now as some activists prepare to run in elections, prominent figures in the protest movement are being picked off while they walk the streets or drive home at the end of the day.

The assassinations, officials and human rights monitors say, underscore the reach of Iraq’s militia network — to punish citizens who dare to criticize it and control a political system meant to hold it accountable.

Not a fan of the outlet OPEN DEMOCRACY but I've complained repeatedly about the lack of coverage of Ihab so we'll note that Nabil Salih covered this issue yesterday afternoon:

Nightfall is also the time that militiamen and terrorists come out to play, their bullets and rockets punctuating the grim silence.

The latest victims include Ihab al-Wazni, an activist shot dead outside his home in Karbala in the early hours of Sunday 9 May. Just 24 hours later, journalist Ahmed Hassan survived an assassination attempt in al-Diwaniyah.

The state never runs out of promises that it will punish and hold accountable the perpetrators, but ordinary Iraqis continue to die so easily. All in all, Iraq Body Count recorded 235 violent civilian deaths in the first four months of 2021 alone.

The assassinations, says a statement from the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, are proof that the security system is failing to protect activists.

[. . .]

In today’s Iraq, the bar for success is so low that the government carrying out even the simplest of its obligations is touted as an achievement.

The faces of fallen protesters graffitied on the streets of Baghdad are a reminder of a bloodbath whose architects are still unpunished.

In October 2019, Iraq’s youth took to the streets, to demand a dignified life akin to that enjoyed by many of their rulers’ families abroad. They were slaughtered like sheep by unidentified gunmen, under the former government of Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Hundreds were killed and thousands were wounded in an unequal standoff that is still being falsely described as “clashes” by international media.

That year, the usual chaos, corruption and death was a part of everyday life for most Iraqis.

One activist assassinated is appalling and news.  A wave of assassinations -- an ongoing wave of assassination -- should be a huge topic.   Rasha al-Aqeedi notes:

For perspective, everyone in this video collage was killed by Iraqi security forces or assassinated by militias. They were activists, journalists, protesters, community leaders.

And she's referring to this Tweet by Herak:

كل شخص في هذه الصورة قتل على يد القوات القمعية سواء قوات حكومية او مليشيات اكثر من 1000 شهيد عراقي و30 الف جريح فقط لكونهم ارادوا الحرية والعدالة هذه الصورة تعتبر اول صورة للمتظاهرين العراقيين بنظام ال #nfts تمجيدا لهم ولتضحياتهم الى جنات الخلد الله يرحمهم ( امين )

For all the pretense of being 'woke,' the US continues to stick its head in the sand when it comes to the suffering in other countries.  The activists in Iraq are living in the destruction that the US government created.  So it is appalling that the US press can't cover this, doesn't want to cover this.  Maybe its their guilt over selling the Iraq War?  Probably not because guilt really isn't an emotion journalists are known to have.  

Ihab died, in part, because of journalistic silence.  He wasn't the first killed or the tenth or the fiftieth or the hundredth or . . .  There was a lot of time for the press to run with this story and amplify what has been going on.  The culture of silence allows these murders to continue.  

Geneva4Justice offers this Twitter thread:

1. Yesterday, on 11 May, the #UNSecurtyCouncil held an open VTC briefing in connection with #UNAMI discussing the alarming regularity of targeted attacks in #Iraq and the failure to organize credible elections in the country.

2. The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq and head of #UNAMI, Jeanine-Hennis Plasschaert, renewed her call for all Iraqi stakeholders to adhere to the integrity of the electoral process, stressing that ”the world is watching”.

3. The #SRSG further raised concerns around the targeting of prominent activists and the lack of accountability for #HumanRightsViolations, highlighting the assassination of Ihab Jawad al-Wazni in Karbala.

4. She noted that little information was provided regarding the violent attacks against demonstrators which undermines the integrity of elections. UN delegates supported the briefing of Ms. Plasschaert and called for increased vigilance against terrorist activities in #Iraq.

The press too often silences the deaths and it also silences the reactions to the death.  Suadad al-Salhy (MEE) notes that the response to Ihab's murder was to call for more protests.  And the protests continue and the protesters continue to be attacked.  This morning, Sura Ali (RUDAW) reports:

Security forces in central Iraq’s Babil early Thursday arrested large numbers of protestors who were part of reinvigorated demonstrations in the city following the assassination of a prominent activist, a local activist confirmed to Rudaw English.

Masses of protestors, who have taken to the streets since the assassination of Karbala activist Ihab al-Wazni on Sunday calling for accountability, were arrested overnight, according to Babil activist Ammar al-Ghazali.

Videos on social media show clashes between riot police and demonstrators near al-Thawra Bridge in the center of the city. Protesters set tires on fire on the streets, while security forces fired Molotov cocktails to disperse the protesters.

"The protesters agreed to declare a truce for three days during Eid al-Fitr, after which the escalation will resume in the case Wazni’s killers are not revealed, and the arrest campaign against protesters and activists continues," Ghazali told Rudaw English.

Iraq Tweets notes:

In Muthanna Governorate, demonstrations have broken out in protest of the killings of activists and crackdowns on protesters in Karbala, Babil, and other southern cities.

Let's note this.

1) GOW-an -- like OW with a G.  This is always a pet peever of mine.  I applauded Bruce Willis when he interrupted Johnny Carson on THE TONIGHT SHOW to say, "It's Demi."  Demi Moore's first name does not rhyme with Emmy.  People need to know basic facts.  You decide to do a full segment on Rose McGowan know the person's name.  It was repeatedly mispronounced.

2) Stop b.s.-ing.  Know your s**t.  I'm just not in the mood.  When Rose is calling out Alyssa and CAA, she's not, as THE VANGUARD says, implying that her agent told her it was a good publicity move.[Clarifiaction added for those who did not stream the video, Alyssa's agent did not tell her that faux pretense abotu #MeToow was a good publicity move.  Rose is referring to CAA's well known history of exploitation of women.]

I do not expect you to know the history of CAA.  How long before anyone wanted to give two s**ts, Debra Winger was seriously calling it out and had to go back there because it was where the work was.  It was a hideous place.  And it used actresses.  There's a French actress they pimped out to Harvey.  We all know this story, in the industry, and many more stories.  I don't expect THE VANGUARD to know it.  I do expect them to grasp that Alysaa's CAA connection -- the only thing that has gotten her jobs in recent years -- is her husband who was a CAA agent until recently (unless he's still with CAA but I'm told he departed weeks ago, that may be incorrect).  CAA would be no more if the #MeTooMovement was for real.  

I know Rose, I support Rose.  But get her name right and don't distort what she's saying because you didn't do the homework.   

The following sites updated: