Sunday, 19 April 2015 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Speakout

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.

Apr 01

John Bolton's Love of Bombs

By Lawrence Davidson, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The year was 1968. I had just earned a master's degree in history at Georgetown University, where I had also helped found the university's chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Unfortunately, there was no time to celebrate, because within days ofgetting the degree I was on US Army bus, along with about 30 others, heading from Washington, DC to Fort Holabird in Baltimore. At that time there was a military draft induction center there, and according to my low draft lottery number, my time had come.  

At Holabird, we piled into a classroom-like setting and were given a lecture by a rather over-muscled middle-aged sergeant with buzz haircut. He told us (I am paraphrasing from memory here) that: "the Vietnam war was absolutely necessary. If the commies got their way the domino effect would see all of Southeast Asia go Red."

U.S. Right to Know sent letters today to the chairs and ranking members of the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Committees, and to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, requesting aninvestigation of a possible cover up for Monsanto, and whether USDA scientists are being harassed when their work runs counter to the interests of the agrichemical industry.

The letters are in reaction to a March 27 Reuters article that, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, "some scientists working for the federal government are finding their research restricted or censored when it conflicts with agribusiness industry interests."

The UK government is refusing to guarantee that it will not misuse the intercepted lawyer-client communications of two renditionvictims in their legal cases again the British government.

Yunus Rahmatullah and Amanatullah Ali, from Pakistan, are bringing legal action against the Britishgovernment for its complicity in their torture and rendition. The men were captured in Iraq in 2004 by British forces, before being rendered by the US to Bagram prison, Afghanistan. They endured a decade of secret US detention and torture in Bagram before their release last May without charge or trial.

Washington, DC – With monsters on the loose slinging blobs of corporate cash, frantic investors ask, "Who can rescue us from this dark money menace?" In the crowd, a woman remembers rumors that the chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has special powers to curb corporate political spending. "Mary Jo White is the superhero we need to end this menace," another onlooker shouts. "Where is Mary Jo White?"

That's the narrative of a month-long ad campaign launched today by investors and public interest organizations. The goal is to persuade the SEC to require publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending.

Apr 01

Coming to America?

By DH Garrett, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

I wonder when we will arrive…

We've been here a few hundred years already (Native Americans aside) and yet very few of us have really set foot on this continent. Jackboots yes. Bare - caressing, vulnerable, sensitive, strong- bare feet, no. We are certainly "on" the continent: we've clear-cut it, mountain-top removed it, asphalted it, concreted it, bulldozed it, mined it, terra-formed it, damned it, sucked it dry, shit industrial shit on it, mono-cropped it, and murdered entire species and cultures; all to fill some primal need for our own creature comforts, at the expense of the comfort of all other creatures and that of most of our fellow human beings.

Mar 31

The Palestinian Arab Citizens of Israel: Pointing the Way Forward

By Dr James J Zogby, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

In 1971, I was in Beirut on a grant from my university to conduct research for my doctoral dissertation on the emergence of Palestinian national consciousness. Since the subjects of my study were the Palestinians in Lebanon's refugee camps, I set about to visit Ein al Hilweh to interview families and document their stories.

Midway through my fieldwork, I had a discussion with the novelist Ghassan Kanafani, which resulted in a dramatic shift in my approach. Ghassan told me that I was looking in the wrong place. The stories I had collected were important and would be useful, but, he noted, in reaction to the trauma of dislocation and hardship of the camps, their consciousness had been frozen.

US, European and Iranian negotiators are working against a self-imposed Tuesday deadline to secure a "framework agreement" which will outline the parameters of a comprehensive agreement to be achieved by June on international limitation and supervision of Iran's nuclear program and the lifting of international sanctions on Iran.

On Sunday night at 9:15 pm ET, The New York Times sent me a scary email.

 Environmental and human rights activists, holding plastic "torches" and "pitchforks," formed human barricades at both entrances to the Nestlé Waters bottling plant in Sacramento at 5:00 a.m. on Friday March 20, effectively shutting down the company's operations for the day. 

Members of the "Crunch Nestlé Alliance" shouted out a number of chants, including "We got to fight for our right to water," "Nestlé, Stop It, Water Not For Profit," and "Agua Para Quien? Para Nuestra Gente!" 

Washington, DC – The FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition today praised the passage of legislation in the United Kingdom to crack down on the use of anonymous shell companies with the creation of a public registry of corporate ownership. The new law brings increased pressure on the United States to follow suit.

Anonymous companies have long been a prime vehicle to launder proceeds from corruption, crime, tax evasion, and other illicit activities. FACT Coalition member Global Witness recently reported on dozens of cases of U.S. anonymous shell companies being used to defraud Medicare, embezzle from public schools, hide the owners of expensive real estate and scam the elderly. Creating a pubic registry of beneficial ownership information, or the true human owners, as the legislation does, provides a useful and effective tool to combat these criminal activities.

The US Government has revealed that the number of detainees it expects to be given a trial at Guantanamo has fallen to a newlow, with a maximum of just seven more of the remaining 122 people being held at the prison expected to face charges.

Although a total of 779 detainees have been held in Guantanamo since it opened in 2002, just ten of those still at the prison are currently undergoing prosecution or serving sentences handed down by quasi-judicial military commissions.  A further eight detainees have been convicted and released, although three of those have since been cleared on appeal.

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Speakout

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.

Apr 01

John Bolton's Love of Bombs

By Lawrence Davidson, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The year was 1968. I had just earned a master's degree in history at Georgetown University, where I had also helped found the university's chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Unfortunately, there was no time to celebrate, because within days ofgetting the degree I was on US Army bus, along with about 30 others, heading from Washington, DC to Fort Holabird in Baltimore. At that time there was a military draft induction center there, and according to my low draft lottery number, my time had come.  

At Holabird, we piled into a classroom-like setting and were given a lecture by a rather over-muscled middle-aged sergeant with buzz haircut. He told us (I am paraphrasing from memory here) that: "the Vietnam war was absolutely necessary. If the commies got their way the domino effect would see all of Southeast Asia go Red."

U.S. Right to Know sent letters today to the chairs and ranking members of the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Committees, and to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, requesting aninvestigation of a possible cover up for Monsanto, and whether USDA scientists are being harassed when their work runs counter to the interests of the agrichemical industry.

The letters are in reaction to a March 27 Reuters article that, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, "some scientists working for the federal government are finding their research restricted or censored when it conflicts with agribusiness industry interests."

The UK government is refusing to guarantee that it will not misuse the intercepted lawyer-client communications of two renditionvictims in their legal cases again the British government.

Yunus Rahmatullah and Amanatullah Ali, from Pakistan, are bringing legal action against the Britishgovernment for its complicity in their torture and rendition. The men were captured in Iraq in 2004 by British forces, before being rendered by the US to Bagram prison, Afghanistan. They endured a decade of secret US detention and torture in Bagram before their release last May without charge or trial.

Washington, DC – With monsters on the loose slinging blobs of corporate cash, frantic investors ask, "Who can rescue us from this dark money menace?" In the crowd, a woman remembers rumors that the chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has special powers to curb corporate political spending. "Mary Jo White is the superhero we need to end this menace," another onlooker shouts. "Where is Mary Jo White?"

That's the narrative of a month-long ad campaign launched today by investors and public interest organizations. The goal is to persuade the SEC to require publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending.

Apr 01

Coming to America?

By DH Garrett, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

I wonder when we will arrive…

We've been here a few hundred years already (Native Americans aside) and yet very few of us have really set foot on this continent. Jackboots yes. Bare - caressing, vulnerable, sensitive, strong- bare feet, no. We are certainly "on" the continent: we've clear-cut it, mountain-top removed it, asphalted it, concreted it, bulldozed it, mined it, terra-formed it, damned it, sucked it dry, shit industrial shit on it, mono-cropped it, and murdered entire species and cultures; all to fill some primal need for our own creature comforts, at the expense of the comfort of all other creatures and that of most of our fellow human beings.

Mar 31

The Palestinian Arab Citizens of Israel: Pointing the Way Forward

By Dr James J Zogby, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

In 1971, I was in Beirut on a grant from my university to conduct research for my doctoral dissertation on the emergence of Palestinian national consciousness. Since the subjects of my study were the Palestinians in Lebanon's refugee camps, I set about to visit Ein al Hilweh to interview families and document their stories.

Midway through my fieldwork, I had a discussion with the novelist Ghassan Kanafani, which resulted in a dramatic shift in my approach. Ghassan told me that I was looking in the wrong place. The stories I had collected were important and would be useful, but, he noted, in reaction to the trauma of dislocation and hardship of the camps, their consciousness had been frozen.

US, European and Iranian negotiators are working against a self-imposed Tuesday deadline to secure a "framework agreement" which will outline the parameters of a comprehensive agreement to be achieved by June on international limitation and supervision of Iran's nuclear program and the lifting of international sanctions on Iran.

On Sunday night at 9:15 pm ET, The New York Times sent me a scary email.

 Environmental and human rights activists, holding plastic "torches" and "pitchforks," formed human barricades at both entrances to the Nestlé Waters bottling plant in Sacramento at 5:00 a.m. on Friday March 20, effectively shutting down the company's operations for the day. 

Members of the "Crunch Nestlé Alliance" shouted out a number of chants, including "We got to fight for our right to water," "Nestlé, Stop It, Water Not For Profit," and "Agua Para Quien? Para Nuestra Gente!" 

Washington, DC – The FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition today praised the passage of legislation in the United Kingdom to crack down on the use of anonymous shell companies with the creation of a public registry of corporate ownership. The new law brings increased pressure on the United States to follow suit.

Anonymous companies have long been a prime vehicle to launder proceeds from corruption, crime, tax evasion, and other illicit activities. FACT Coalition member Global Witness recently reported on dozens of cases of U.S. anonymous shell companies being used to defraud Medicare, embezzle from public schools, hide the owners of expensive real estate and scam the elderly. Creating a pubic registry of beneficial ownership information, or the true human owners, as the legislation does, provides a useful and effective tool to combat these criminal activities.

The US Government has revealed that the number of detainees it expects to be given a trial at Guantanamo has fallen to a newlow, with a maximum of just seven more of the remaining 122 people being held at the prison expected to face charges.

Although a total of 779 detainees have been held in Guantanamo since it opened in 2002, just ten of those still at the prison are currently undergoing prosecution or serving sentences handed down by quasi-judicial military commissions.  A further eight detainees have been convicted and released, although three of those have since been cleared on appeal.