ark these days. A long-dreaded transformation from hope to doom is taking place as the United States of America ushers the world onto the no-turning-back road of nuclear perdition.
Once, we could believe there was another way to go. Indeed, we were invited to take that path by the man who is, even today, overseeing the blocking of it, probably forever.
It was one of the most stirring speeches
an American president had ever given. The place was Prague; the year was 2009; the president was the recently sworn in Barack Obama.
The promise made that day is worth recalling at length, especially since, by now, it is largely forgotten:
Created on Sunday, 14 December 2014 21:54
Written by Creative Commons
At the Heart of COP20: Loss and Damage
by Bianca Jagger - Human Rights Foundation
am writing from Lima, Peru, where the 20th Conference of Parties (COP) for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was supposed to be coming to a close.
There has been wrangling all night, the closing plenary of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) has finished without a concrete result.
The COP President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal was meeting with countries and country blocs to see if agreement can be reached before decision-makers return home.
Bianca Jagger at COP20, at the Ministry of Defence, Lima Peru
The name of the outcome document that will result at Lima has been discussed. In the past we have had the Kyoto Protocol, the Copenhagen Accord, the Cancun Agreement, the Durban Platform and the Warsaw Framework. The name 'Lima Action Platform is being suggested, or LAP.' 'LAP' may end up standing for 'Lack of Action and Progress.'
Read more: Getting to the Heart of the COP 20 Matter
Created on Sunday, 14 December 2014 21:19
Written by John McNamer
The Villains Who Torture and Their Canadian Friends
by John McNamer
- Media with Conscience
he information about "brutal" CIA torture programs just "revealed" by a U.S. Senate committee has been widely known and well documented over much of the past decade and this information has been provided many times to responsible Canadian officials, who chose to ignore.
These responsible officials include the Governor General/Commander-in-Chief; Attorney General/Justice Minister; Prime Minister, and opposition party leaders; Minister of Defence; Minister of Foreign Affairs; Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Privy Council; Military Police Complaints Commission; Provost Marshall; Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.
All have remained silent, failing to exercise their various unique legal responsibilities under terms of the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute, and related Canadian law. In large part due to this dark blanket of repressed denial which somehow covers all of Ottawa -- and by extension the rest of Canada -- Canadians will likely not be hearing much about the CIA torture report, even though it is a blockbuster worldwide story with large legal implications for many governments and individuals.
Read more: Canada's (Nearly) Forgotten Complicity in the US Torture Program
Created on Sunday, 14 December 2014 00:23
Written by Roger Annis
The Propaganda War over Crimea's Break from Ukraine
In the propaganda campaign being waged by the NATO countries and the government of Ukraine against Russia and in support of Kiev’s war in the east of the country, the events in Crimea of the past nine months occupy a pivotal place.
The secession from Ukraine that followed the March 16 referendum vote in Crimea is the number one pretext to justify the war as well as NATO’s rising aggression in Eastern Europe.
NATO began an eastward expansion 25 years ago at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has incorporated 11 new member countries (including eastern Germany) – 13 if Croatia and Albania are counted.
NATO might be upsetting the entire military and political balance of Europe by continuing to push eastward today in Ukraine, but the drumbeat of Western government and media propaganda claims the heightened tensions of this past year are all Russia’s fault. Russia’s supposed annexation of Crimea in March is the example par excellence that a new “Russian aggression,” harkening back to Soviet Union times, is afoot. It must be stopped at all costs before Ukraine falls, too.
In this made-up world, Kiev’s murderous, illegal war against its own population disappears.
Created on Friday, 12 December 2014 20:39
Written by Press Release
In advance of sentencing, government blocks the public's right to know
head of the sentencing of Barrett Brown, which is due to happen next Tuesday, December 16th, the government is opposing the public's right to know about a case with extraordinary implications for the public and for the practice of journalists.
On November 19th, Brown's defense attorneys filed their final sentencing memorandum, which is a thorough legal argument in favor of time served for the defendant, including many letters submitted by friends, family and supporters on his behalf.
Because the government's pleadings arguing for a 8 ½ year sentence were made under seal, the defense's filing in response was also sealed, like much of the case. Arbitrary and inexplicable secrecy, including protective orders and gag orders have abounded in USA v. Barrett Lancaster Brown from the very start.
Created on Friday, 12 December 2014 20:21
Written by Peter Lee
From “Assuring Freedom of Navigation” to “Drill, Baby, Drill” in the SCS
by Peter Lee
- China MattersA
s I predicted a while back, the United States has quietly ditched its old, underperforming pretext for confrontation in the South China Sea and is sidestepping into a new justification.
I do not care deeply about America’s stake in the South China Sea. So I have little interest in slogging through recent US
contributions to the controversy du jour: the viability or lack thereof of the notorious nine dash line or 9DL under international law. The only people who should give a sh*t about the South China Sea are the Chinese.
Much of the PRC’s trade and Middle East energy pass through the SCS; and the determined US rapprochement with Myanmar (and anti-Chinese activism by the PRC's domestic Myanmar opponents) has threatened one of the PRC’s important energy security countermoves: the Rakhine to Kunming oil and gas pipeline originating beyond the western end of the Malacca Straits.
But the PRC’s conflicts with its SCS neighbors—and the ridiculous burden of the nine-dash line—are China’s key areas of strategic & diplomatic vulnerability. The United States has been working assiduously to exploit the PRC’s difficulties and foreclose the logical trajectory for conflict resolution since 2010, when Hillary Clinton declared the United States had a strategic interest in freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, a sea I might point out, which is of overwhelming strategic importance to only one major power, the PRC.
Created on Friday, 12 December 2014 19:54
Written by WSWS
Torture, police killings and the militarization of America
by Bill Van Auken
he fact that the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report exposing CIA torture has been released in the United States as the country is being swept by angry protests over a series of vicious and unpunished police killings has been little noted by the American mass media.
What are treated as unrelated stories are, in fact, two facets of the same phenomenon: the growth of a massive and criminal police state apparatus that enjoys absolute impunity. The crimes carried out abroad and the crimes carried out at home have a common source in an economic and social system that is in deep crisis and whose overriding features are social inequality, militarism and a relentless assault on basic democratic rights.
The cops who shot down unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, strangled to death Eric Garner in Staten Island and killed defenseless individuals in Cleveland, Phoenix and elsewhere go unpunished as prosecutors employ a deliberate system of exoneration by grand jury to prevent them from ever being called to account for their crimes.
Created on Thursday, 11 December 2014 20:13
Written by Press Release
Missouri Judge Convicts and Sentences Two Peace Activists for Protesting Drone Warfare
Jefferson City, MO
n December 10, a federal magistrate found Georgia Walker, of Kansas City, MO and Chicagoan Kathy Kelly guilty of criminal trespass to a military installation as a result of their June 1 effort to deliver a loaf of bread and a citizens’ indictment of drone warfare to authorities at Whiteman AFB.
In testimony, Kelly, who recently returned from Afghanistan, recounted her conversation with an Afghan mother whose son, a recent police academy graduate, was killed by a drone as he sat with colleagues in a garden.
“I’m educated and humbled by experiences talking with people who’ve been trapped and impoverished by U.S. warfare,” said Kelly.
“The U.S. prison system also traps and impoverishes people. In coming months, I’ll surely learn more about who goes to prison and why.”
Judge Matt Whitworth sentenced Kelly (above)
to three months in prison and Walker to
one year of supervised probation.
During sentencing, prosecution attorneys asked that Walker be sentenced to five years of probation and banned from going within 500 feet of any military base. Judge Whitworth imposed a sentence of one year probation with a condition that Walker refrain from approaching any military base for one year. Walker coordinates an organization that provides re-entry services to newly released prisoners throughout Missouri.
Noting that the condition to stay away from military bases will affect her ability to travel in the region, Walker expressed concern that this condition will limit her work among former prisoners.
Kelly’s work as a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence places her alongside people in a working class neighborhood of Kabul. She said that the day’s proceedings offered a valuable opportunity to shed light on experiences of Afghan families whose grievances are seldom heard.
At the conclusion of the sentencing, Kelly said that every branch of U.S. government, including the judicial branch, shares responsibility for suffering caused when drones target and kill civilians.
Read more: American Justice Sentences Pacifists for Drone Protests