Category Archives: Human Rights

Because ‘Good Planets Are Hard to Find,’ Extinction Rebellion Shuts Down London Bridges to SaveMother Earth

Day of revolt leads to mass arrests in the UK as protest participants argue too many still don’t “recognize the seriousness of our existential crisis” and almost nobody is doing enough to end humanity’s reckless assault on planet’s living systems

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-17-2018

Demonstrators on the iconic Westminster Bridge in central London on Saturday, November 17. “We are peacefully standing up for the Earth and for humanity,” said Cecelia B of Extinction Rebellion. “People are dancing and singing and making new friends. This is a joyful rebellion and this is what the future looks like.” (Photo: Extinction Rebellion/@ExtinctionR)

Mass arrests resulted on Saturday as thousands of people and members of the ‘Extinction Rebellion‘ movement—for “the first time in living memory”—shut down the five main bridges of central London in the name of saving the planet, and those who live upon it, from destructive over-consumption, runaway greenhouse gas emissions, and the ongoing failure of global leaders to address the compounding and intensifying threats.

“The ‘social contract’ has been broken … [and] it is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty to bypass the government’s inaction and flagrant dereliction of duty, and to rebel to defend life itself,” Gail Bradbrook, an Extinction Rebellion organizer, explained to the Guardian. Continue reading

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‘It Keeps Getting Uglier’: As True Costs of HQ2 Scam Emerge, Public Housing and School Offices Getting the Boot to Make Room for Amazon

“The fact that massive public subsidies are helping eliminate affordable housing units is just the latest reason this bad deal needs to be torn up and thrown away.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-16-2018

“The taxpayer costs of these two deals is high, both in absolute terms and on a per-job basis, contrary to Amazon’s artful spin. Together, we believe they exceed $4.6 billion,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First. (Photo: Street Easy

After learning that New York taxpayers will be forced to finance a helipad for Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, it’s possible many believed Amazon’s sweetheart headquarters deal with the Empire State couldn’t get any worse.

But as additional details of the agreement continue to pour in—and as experts estimate its true cost to taxpayers—critics are warning that it the deal is looking increasingly awful for ordinary New Yorkers. Continue reading

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Trump Reportedly Wants to Cut Off Federal Relief Funds to Puerto Rico Despite Post-Maria Devastation

The president claims, with no evidence, that local officials want to use recovery money to pay down the U.S. territory’s sizeable debt

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2018

President Donald Trump reportedly wants to cut off federal relief funding to Puerto Rico even though much of the island is still devastated by Hurricane Maria, which hit the isalnd in September of 2017. (Chris Grogan/Air Force Magazine/Flickr)

Although it has been more than a year since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, in parts of the U.S. territory, “it’s like the hurricane hit yesterday“—yet President Donald Trump wants to cut off recovery money, according to Axios, “because he claims, without evidence, that the island’s government is using federal disaster relief money to pay off debt.”

The unfounded claims about federal funds being misappropriated come from Trump’s misreading of an October Wall Street Journal article, multiple unnamed sources told Axios‘ Jonathan Swan. Continue reading

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UN Food Storage Facility Targeted as Saudi Coalition Closes in on Hodeida

A UN World Food Program grain facility, responsible for milling about a quarter of the wheat flour that the WFP distributes to Yemen’s hungriest people, was destroyed after being hit with more than 10 airstrikes as well as targeted shelling.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem. Published 11-9-2018 by MintPress News

Hodeida grain silo

At least 15 civilians were killed on Thursday after Saudi-led coalition aircraft and artillery carried out strikes against a residential area in Yemen’s strategic western province of Hodeida and the border areas of Sadaa.

A local source told MintPress News that Saudi jets conducted airstrikes against the al-Jabaliyah area in the al-Tuheita district in southern Hodeida on Thursday afternoon, killing 45-year-old Hassan al Ameri and his four daughters Sumiah, Hunood, Laila and Hend, who ranged in age from eight months to nine years old. Al Ameri’s twelve-year-old son, Ali, was also killed in the attack. Continue reading

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Saying Approval by Trump Ignored Obvious Facts and Threats, Federal Judge Halts Construction of Keystone XL Pipeline

Native tribes and environmentalists celebrated the ruling as “a decisive moment in our fight against the corporate polluters who have rushed to destroy our planet”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-9-2018

Photo by chesapeakeclimate (8/22/11 Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In a major victory for the planet and blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to ramp up fossil fuel extraction and production in the face of grave climate consequences, a federal judge on Thursday halted all construction of TransCanada’s 1,200-mile long Keystone XL pipeline and tossed out the White House’s fact-free approval of the project.

Issued by Judge Brian Morris of the District of Montana, the ruling ripped President Donald Trump’s State Department for blithely tossing out “prior factual findings related to climate change” to rush through the Keystone pipeline and using “outdated information” on the severe threat the tar sands project poses to endangered species, tribal lands, and the water supply. Continue reading

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US Uses Banned White Phosphorus Bombs in Syrian City for the Fourth Time in Two Months

The International Committee of the Red Cross has stated that “employing asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices is listed in the Statute of the International Criminal Court as a war crime.”

By Whitney Webb. Published 11-6-2018 by MintPress News

White phosphorus attack. Photo: Human Rights Watch

The U.S.-led coalition in Syria has been accused of using white phosphorus incendiary munitions for the fourth time since mid-September.  White phosphorus is banned internationally when used in areas with civilian populations.

Syrian state news agency SANA reported on a bombing conducted by the U.S.-led coalition that had targeted the small city of Hajin in Syria’s Eastern Deir Ez-Zor province over the weekend. The bombing, allegedly intended to target Daesh (ISIS) terrorists who control the city, killed fifteen civilians – among them women and children – and injured scores more. Civil sources cited by SANA reported that white phosphorus bombs had been used, which – in addition to resulting in several civilian deaths and injuries — caused massive property damage due to the fires resulting from the use of the banned substance. Continue reading

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Trump’s Rules of Engagement for Troops at US-Mexico Border Mirror Those Used By the IDF in Gaza

The intent behind Trump’s new rules of engagement and considerable militarization of the U.S. border appears to be greenlighting the U.S. military to function as an IDF-style military police force whenever the next “threat” emerges, whether it be “foreign invaders” or “internal enemies.”

By Whitney Webb. Published 11-2-2018 by MintPress News

Photo: US Army/flickr

Since President Donald Trump first directed the outrage of his supporters at a Central American migrant caravan making its way towards the United States a little over a week ago, his plan to deploy between 5,200 and 15,000 active-duty U.S. soldiers to the border has provoked mixed reactions within the United States. However, Trump’s more recent announcement that armed U.S. soldiers have been instructed to target any migrants who resort to throwing stones as though they were firing rifles has evoked an even wider range of reactions.

On Thursday afternoon, Trump detailed in a speech that “Anybody [in the caravan] throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm.” He then elaborated that “we will consider it [stone throwing], the maximum that we can consider that…We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back….I told them to consider it a rifle.” Continue reading

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‘Real Teeth’: Senator’s Bill Would Punish CEOs With Up to 20 Years in Jail for Violating Consumer Privacy Rules

“There need to be consequences when corporations don’t protect your data. My bill will put reckless CEOs in jail if they lie about protecting your personal information.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-2-201

Facebook co-founder, chairman, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill . Screenshot: C-SPAN

At the tail end of a year full of egregious data mining scandals and privacy violations by corporate giants like FacebookGoogle, and Equifax—behavior that went virtually unpunished in the United States—Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced a bill on Thursday that would dramatically strengthen internet privacy protections and hit executives who violate the rules with up to 20 years in prison.

“Today’s economy is a giant vacuum for your personal information—everything you read, everywhere you go, everything you buy, and everyone you talk to is sucked up in a corporation’s database. But individual Americans know far too little about how their data is collected, how it’s used and how it’s shared,”  Wyden said in a statement. Continue reading

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Your Commander-in-Chief Is Lying to You: Veterans Issue Open Letter to Active Duty US Soldiers

By every moral or ethical standard it is your duty to refuse orders to “defend” the U.S. from these migrants.

By 

To All Active Duty Soldiers:

Your Commander-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women—with families just like yours and ours—are fleeing their homes is because of the US meddling in their country’s elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.

These extremely poor and vulnerable people are desperate for peace.  Who among us would walk a thousand miles with only the clothes on our back without great cause? The odds are good that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. lived similar experiences to these migrants. Your family members came to the U.S. to seek a better life—some fled violence. Consider this as you are asked to confront these unarmed men, women and children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. To do so would be the ultimate hypocrisy.

The U.S. is the richest country in the world, in part because it has exploited countries in Latin America for decades. If you treat people from these countries like criminals, as Trump hopes you will, you only contribute to the legacy of pillage and plunder beneath our southern border. We need to confront this history together, we need to confront the reality of America’s wealth and both share and give it back with these people. Above all else, we cannot turn them away at our door. They will die if we do.

By every moral or ethical standard it is your duty to refuse orders to “defend” the U.S. from these migrants.  History will look kindly upon you if you do. There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone. It is much harder to punish the many than the few.

In solidarity,

Rory Fanning
Former U.S. Army Ranger, War-Resister
Spenser Rapone
Former U.S. Army Ranger and Infantry Officer, War-Resister

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

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After Years of Tireless Demands to End Carnage, Anti-War and Relief Groups Cautiously Welcome US Call for Yemen Ceasefire

After years-long efforts by human rights groups and lawmakers to end U.S. backing of the Saudis’ war in Yemen, the Trump administration follows the Koch brothers’ lead in calling for a ceasefire

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-31-2018

The market in Yemen that was destroyed by U.S.-made bombs on March 15. (Photo: Amal al-Yarisi/Human Rights Watch)

After years of working to call international attention to the death and destruction caused by Saudi Arabia’s U.S.-backed war in Yemen, human rights and anti-war groups expressed cautious optimism that the war-torn, impoverished country may see some relief in the coming weeks, following calls for a ceasefire by the Trump administration.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday both called for all participants in the war to come together for peace talks within the next 30 days, putting a stop to a conflict in which Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—with weapons, fuel, and tactical support from countries including the U.S. and U.K.—have killed 16,000 Yemeni civilians and displaced an estimated two million while leaving 22 million on the brink of famine. Continue reading

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