SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
We have every reason to celebrate the so-called framework agreement with Iran. It exemplifies the best of President Obama's foreign policy, namely, engaging adversaries. Remember when candidate Obama's argument for engagement during campaign 2008 was ridiculed by Hillary Clinton, among many others? Now Obama has two major engagement successes to crow about, leaving behind those who are quick to criticize the deals with Cuba and Iran as anything from foolish to treasonous.
Investigative journalist and author Will Potter was the featured guest on Tim "Sole" Holland's podcast titled Solecast recently. Potter discussed how the animal rights movement has evolved through the years, his journalist beginnings, his experience with activism, FBI encounters, and the value of challenging power systems.
Regarding the evolution of the animal rights movement and repression against the movement, Potter explained that many topics that used to be on the margins of the movement are now being ushered into more mainstream discussions.
The Saudi royal reshuffle is bad news for Pakistan. King Salman bin Abdulaziz's appointment of his nephew and son as monarchs-in-waiting is more than a simple break with tradition. Beyond ensuring his Sudairi clan's foreseeable hold on power, this move provides continuity to the "Salman Doctrine." This doctrine discards the Kingdom's American security blanket, and reinforces what Anwar Gargash, the UAE Foreign Minister, believes: "Arab security...is the responsibility of none but Arab countries." However, as former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates once quipped, the Saudis will only "fight the Iranians to the last American."
This upcoming weekend at the University of the District of Columbia Law School, Bill McKibben, Dr. Michael Dorsey, Lester Brown, Professor Mark Jacobson, Mustafa Ali from the US Environmental Protection Agency, Professor Phillip Harvey, Barbara Arnwine, Rev. Rodney Sadler, Jay Nightwolf, Krystal Williams, Joe Uehlein, Ted Glick, Chuck Rocha, Professor Joel Rogers, Nikisha Glover, Mike Ewall, Jeffrey Wolfe, Joel Segal, State Sen. Ben Ptashnik, Jacquelyn Patterson, Terrence Muhammad, Mark Magana, Dr. Gabriela Lemus, Leslie Fields, Andrea Miller and many, many more, will address these two central questions in a convening sponsored by People Demanding Action.
Members of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Heidi Boghosian and Natsu Saito, with Kathleen Cleaver of the Human Rights Research Fund, today delivered an Urgent Appeal Request on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal to Juan Méndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. The request addresses the life-threatening denial of medical care to the 61-year-old journalist, political activist and human rights defender who has been described as "perhaps America's most famous prisoner."
According to the Request, Mr. Abu-Jamal, currently in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, has life-threatening medical conditions that have been caused and/or exacerbated by his conditions of confinement.
The May 4, 1992 Yonge Street Uprising was a pivotal moment in the resistance history of Afrikan people in the city of Toronto. This rebellion is the first and only one led by Afrikans against racial and class oppression in this metropolitan area. It forced the Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP) government of the day to enact a slew of anti-racist and equity public policy initiatives.
The Yonge Street Uprising shared the same proximate triggering event as that which tend to inspire rebellions among Afrikans in the United States.
A promise by Qatari labour and social affairs minister Abdullah Saleh Mubarak al-Khulaifi to reform the Gulf state's controversial kafala or labour sponsorship system by the end of this year is likely to cut little ice with human rights and trade union activists who four years after Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup are demanding deeds rather than words.
Mr. Al-Khulaifi's promise comes amid an avalanche of media disclosures that suggest massive violation of world soccer body FIFA's bidding rules, involving substantial payments to soccer officials across the globe, vote swapping, and shady political deals between FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the Qatari leadership. The revelations coupled with a crackdown on critics of Qatar's labour system further call into question the Gulf state's sincerity.
Conservation groups filed their opening briefs this week challenging the Cadiz Water Project, a private groundwater-mining proposal that would siphon 16 million of gallons of water per year for up to 50 years from the Mojave Desert to feed urban sprawl in Southern California's Orange County.
Widely opposed by San Bernardino County residents, state and federal public agencies, and local businesses, Cadiz, Inc.'s ill-conceived plan threatens to dry up life-sustaining desert springs in the Mojave National Preserve, hurting vegetation and key habitat for iconic desert wildlife species, including desert tortoises, bighorn sheep, Mojave fringe-toed lizards and kit foxes.
A "state of emergency," not to be confused with the one declared by the governor, should be continued in Baltimore, Maryland. Indeed, a state of emergency with a domestic Marshall Plan-like design ($13 billion 1948 post WWII European Recovery Program) should be declared in many other urban and rural communities in our nation. Too many communities are suffering from high levels of unemployment, especially among youth; childhood poverty; race and class-based police brutality and unwarranted imprisonment; business licensure patterns that concentrate liquor, lottery, fast food outlets, and instant cash and pawn shops in vulnerable sections of communities; indigenous population dislodging gentrification; inadequate social and public health infrastructures, inadequate funding of public education; and deteriorating cultural and family units.
Who knew what? And when? Who told whom what? And how soon? Who knew what but didn't tell it when he should have? Or, more simply: Who's been lying and for how long?
Maybe quite a few! Supposedly new, supposedly unknown facts are emerging, though many people seem to have known them all along. The giant – or humongous – NSA apparatus of the USA has been spying on its European pals for years, not only in that endlessly lightless tunnel, the "fight against terrorism," but for plain, down-to-earth business secrets as well. Instead of angrily exposing such dirty work, or perhaps trying to limit it, the ill-famed German BND (Federal Intelligence Agency) happily joined hands (and tapes) with it, trading all kinds of secrets, maybe even that alleged tapping of Angela Merkel's private cell-phone. When that came out, German media and politicians waxed angrily indignant, they all demanded immediate stop signs while Merkel flew off to the White House in a huff to protest. Like most everybody, she soon cooled off; it seemed wiser to forgive and forget.