Monthly Archives: May 2016

California Back in Big Oil’s Crosshairs as Feds Quietly OK Offshore Fracking

“This move paves the way for offshore fracking permits that were previously frozen and the dumping of toxic wastewater directly into the Pacific Ocean.”

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-28-2016

Offshore fracking may soon restart in California. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Offshore fracking may soon restart in California. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Two federal agencies on Friday quietly finalized two reports, set for release next week, that found offshore fracking in California poses no “significant” risk to the environment—paving the way for oil and gas companies to resume the controversial extraction method in the Santa Barbara Channel and imperiling the region’s wildlife in the process, opponents said.

The announcement Friday from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (OEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement puts an end to a court-ordered ban on offshore fracking in federal waters off the coast of California. The moratorium was put into place in January as part of a settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), which challenged the Obama administration’s ‘rubber-stamping’ of offshore drilling activity without an environmental review. Continue reading

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Guantánamo Prisoner, Never Convicted, To Be Released After Decade-Plus Detention

‘This young man should have been released years ago’

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-21-2016

Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

An Afghan man detained for 14 years in Guantánamo—without ever being convicted of a crime—was on Friday recommended by the Pentagon for release.

The man, known as Obaidullah, was arrested and detained in 2002, when he was about 19, but the U.S. government failed to successfully prosecute him for any crimes, AP reported. Charges were eventually made against him in 2008, but were dismissed in 2011.

“This young man should have been released years ago,” Marine Maj. Derek Poteet, who has represented him since 2010, told the Miami Herald. “He was taken from his bed at his home peacefully without resistance. He was subjected to real abuse at Bagram.” Continue reading

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3 Facts That Will Change Everything You Believe About U.S. Foreign Policy

By Nick Bernabe. Published 5-27-2016 by The Anti-Media

The United States has the world’s most powerful military — and a huge budget to match it. In fact, the U.S. spends more on defense than the next seven countries’ budgets military combined. America’s navy has been branded a “Global Force for Good,” and U.S. military operations around the world are sold to the public as freedom-by-force operations (see: Operation Iraqi Freedom).

But what is the truth about America’s foreign policy? Is America truly a benevolent empire hell-bent on raining democracy-by-drone strike around the world? To answer this question, we looked at America’s arms global deals and came to a rather disappointing  conclusion. Continue reading

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Bill that Would Allow Americans to Sue Saudi Arabia for 9/11 Attacks Exposed as Cruel Hoax

At the last minute, the bill’s co-sponsor snuck in a provision effectively rendering it nothing but propaganda.

By Jay Syrmopoulos. Published 5-25-2016 by The Free Thought Project

North_face_south_tower_after_plane_strike_9-11

For all the excitement about the U.S. Senate’s unanimous passage of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), allowing the families of victims of 9/11 to sue the Saudi government in federal court, it turns out that the vote was nothing more than an illusion of the prospect of justice and accountability. A last minute amendment to the final draft of the bill included a provision that allows for the U.S. attorney general and secretary of state to stop any pending legislation against the Saudis.

While JASTA would allow for families of victims of 9/11 to overcome the current restrictions, the new section of the bill would essentially allow the heads of the Justice and State departments to stay any lawsuits indefinitely. The provision allows for the organizational heads to simply “inform the judge hearing the case that the US government has engaged with Riyadh in diplomatic talks to resolve the issue,” according to the NY Post. Continue reading

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Activists and Investors Hold Exxon’s Feet to the Fire for Climate Crimes

‘If Exxon intentionally misled the public about climate change and fossil fuels, then it should be held accountable.’

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-25-2016

Activists protested after it was made public that ExxonMobil for years deliberately tried to hide the truth about the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo: Johnny Silvercloud/cc/flickr)

Activists protested after it was made public that ExxonMobil for years deliberately tried to hide the truth about the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo: Johnny Silvercloud/cc/flickr)

Update 2:45 PM EDT:

Exxon shareholders on Wednesday rejected a resolution that would have forced the oil giant to calculate and report the impact of climate change on its long-term business prospects, as well as other climate-related proposals, in some cases by an “overwhelming majority.”

DeSmog Blog‘s Steve Horn reports that “shareholders voted against one that called for the company to limit global warming to 2-degrees Celsius, with 18-percent voting for it and 82-percent against it. Further, 79-percent of shareholders voted against a resolution calling for the company to insert a climate expert on its Board.” Continue reading

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Demanding ‘What We Need to Survive,’ Workers to Descend on McDonald’s Shareholders Meeting

Fast food giant also faces renewed calls to ditch controversial ‘McTeacher’s Nights’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-25-2016

Fight for $15 protesters outside a Chicago McDonald's in 2013. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr/cc)

Fight for $15 protesters outside a Chicago McDonald’s in 2013. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr/cc)

As McDonald’s prepares to hold its annual meting on Thursday, low wage workers—buoyed by successes from the “unstoppable” Fight for $15 movement—are gearing up to confront the burger giant and again demand a decent wage and union rights.

On Wednesday, in addition to a mid-day strike at the flagship Rock N Roll McDonald’s in Chicago, organizers say thousands of underpaid workers will stage a protest at the company’s headquarters just outside the city, in Oak Brook, Illinois. Continue reading

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So, You Thought Bank of America Would be Punished for Role in 2008 Crisis? Think Again

By Claire Bernish. Published 5-23-2016 by The Anti-Media

United States — In a reversal of the smidgen of accountability forced on Bank of America for its role in the 2008 financial crisis, a U.S. appeals court threw out a jury’s verdict — and with it, the $1.27 billion fine BoA would have paid for mortgage fraud.

Though the Department of Justice had alleged Countrywide Financial Corp., which was purchased by Bank of America in 2008, had sold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac thousands of bad loans through its “Hustle” mortgage program, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York found insufficient evidence to back charges of fraud. Continue reading

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High-Ranking Official Reveals How Pentagon Punishes Whistleblowers

A DoD official blows the whistle on how the U.S. government has repeatedly—and illegally—quashed whistleblowers

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-22-2016

John Crane described how the Pentagon illegally represses whistleblowers—and revealed how the same internal office tasked with protecting whistleblowers has set about betraying them. (Photo: Screenshot/The Guardian)

John Crane described how the Pentagon illegally represses whistleblowers—and revealed how the same internal office tasked with protecting whistleblowers has set about betraying them. (Photo: Screenshot/The Guardian)

Pentagon officials tasked with protecting whistleblowers have lied under oath, illegally destroyed documents, and gone out of their way to ruin people’s careers and lives for attempting to raise concerns about government abuses of power, according to a high-ranking Department of Defense (DoD) official, John Crane, who went public with his story on Sunday.

snowtweet 1 Continue reading

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After ‘Robbing Humanity’ of Better Future, Shareholders Targeted for Big Oil’s Charade

Both Exxon and Chevron hold their annual shareholder meetings on Wednesday. Activists plan to protest both events.

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-20-2016

Chevron and Exxon have opposed environmental resolutions in the past. (Photo: Roo Reynolds/flickr/cc + Mike Mozart/flickr/cc)

Chevron and Exxon have opposed environmental resolutions in the past. (Photo: Roo Reynolds/flickr/cc + Mike Mozart/flickr/cc)

When they gather in Texas and California, respectively, for their annual shareholder meetings next week, ExxonMobil and Chevron will face increasing pressure from shareholders, environmentalists, and impacted communities to act on climate change.

The meetings, both taking place next Wednesday, come amid a concerted effort to hold Exxon and other fossil fuel corporations accountable for deceiving the general public and their shareholders about climate science. Continue reading

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People Power Just Trumped Corporate Power: Oregon County Rejects Nestle Water-Grab

‘This is really a resounding victory for everyone who cares about protecting not only our water supply, but water supplies around the world’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-18-2016

Oxbow Springs water would have be bottled under Nestle's Arrowhead brand. (Photo: Nathan Rupert/flickr/cc)

Oxbow Springs water would have be bottled under Nestle’s Arrowhead brand. (Photo: Nathan Rupert/flickr/cc)

Voters in one Oregon county on Tuesday approved a ban on commercial bottled water production, stopping a years-long effort by Swiss transnational Nestle to sell over 100 million gallons of water a year from the Columbia River Gorge.

“This is really a resounding victory for everyone who cares about protecting not only our water supply, but water supplies around the world,” said Aurora del Val with Local Water Alliance, which filed the ballot measure petition. Continue reading

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