Category Archives: International Agreements

A Refrain of ‘Drop the Charges’ Rises as Scott Warren Faces Retrial for Giving Aid to Migrants in Need

“No one should die while attempting to migrate, and no one deserves to be punished for working to prevent those deaths.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2019

No More Deaths volunteer Scott Warren faces up to 10 years behind bars for giving humanitarian aid to migrants in the desert. (Photo: Alli Jarrar/Amnesty International)

Human rights advocates and family members gathered outside a federal courthouse in Arizona on Tuesday as the retrial began for Scott Warren, who faces up to a decade behind bars for providing humanitarian aid to migrants in the Sonoran Desert.

“We are here today standing together as rural border residents in the firm belief that every life is sacred, deserving of care and dignity,” Arivaca, Arizona resident Patty Miller said on behalf of the Rural Border Community Coalition. “For those of us living on the border, to deny care to those in need would be to deny our own humanity.” Continue reading

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Demands for Bold Climate Action Mount as ‘All But Rainless’ Australia Faces ‘Catastrophic’ Fire Danger

The extreme weather comes as a new report on G20 nations reveals that “Australia is behind [on] climate action in nearly every dimension.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-11-2019

Photo: James ༀ Barrett/Twitter

Demands for bold government action to combat the climate emergency continued to mount in Australia Monday as the continent had hardly any rain for the first time on record while more than 100 fires burned across two eastern states.

The government’s Bureau of Meteorology on Monday “forecast Australia to be all but rainless for the day—aside from a tiny splotch off the Kimberley and western Tasmania,” according to The Sydney Morning Herald. A bureau spokesperson said that “the team can’t comprehensively identify a day in our records where there hasn’t been rain somewhere on continental Australia.” Continue reading

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‘Simply Barbaric’: Trump Administration Proposes Charging Asylum Fee for Refugees Fleeing Violence and Poverty

“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-10-2019

USCIS office in Atlanta. Photo: Gulbenk/CC

The Trump administration this coming week will formalize a proposal that could make it one of just four countries in the world that charge asylum-seekers for entry.

As the New York Times reported late Friday, the administration plans to publish in the Federal Register a proposal to require a $50 application fee for asylum-seekers as well as a $490 charge for work permits.

“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees,” Doug Rand of the immigrant assistance company Boundless Immigration told the Times. Continue reading

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How Mike Pence’s Office Meddled in Foreign Aid to Reroute Money to Favored Christian Group

Officials at USAID warned that favoring Christian groups in Iraq could be unconstitutional and inflame religious tensions. When one colleague lost her job, they said she had been “Penced.”

By Yeganeh Torbati Published 11-7-2019 by ProPublica

Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, during the Senate’s vote on Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos. On Tuesday night, Pence returned to the chamber again to a break another tie. This time it was to make sure it’s easier in the future for financial service companies and other Wall Street darlies to make it easier to rip-off consumers. (Photo: Senate Television)

 

Last November, a top Trump appointee at the U.S. Agency for International Development wrote a candid email to colleagues about pressure from the White House to reroute Middle East aid to religious minorities, particularly Christian groups.

“Sometimes this decision will be made for us by the White House (see… Iraq! And, increasingly, Syria),” said Hallam Ferguson, a senior official in USAID’s Middle East bureau, in an email seen by ProPublica. “We need to stay ahead of this curve everywhere lest our interventions be dictated to us.” Continue reading

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Pentagon Claims US Authority to Shoot Any Syrian Govt Official Who Tries to Take Control of Syrian Oil

“This is not a new mission.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-8-2019

An M-ATV used by U.S. forces near [[Manbij]], [[Syria]], July 2018. Photo: Public domain

Pentagon officials asserted Thursday U.S. military authority over Syrian oil fields because U.S. forces are acting under the goal of “protecting Americans from terrorist activity” and would be within their rights to shoot a representative of the Syrian government who attempted to retake control over that country’s national resource.

The comments came from Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman and Navy Rear Admiral William D. Byrne Jr. during a press briefing in which the two men were asked repeatedly about the legal basis the U.S. is claiming to control Syrian oil fields. Continue reading

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Delivering ‘Catastrophic Message in a Moment of Great Urgency,’ Trump Formally Begins Ditching Paris Climate Deal

“President Trump’s decision to walk away from the Paris agreement is irresponsible and shortsighted.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-4-2019

Protesters gathered at the Eiffel Tower in Paris in December 2015. (Photo: Carlos Felipe Pardo/flickr/cc)

As President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday took the first step to formally withdraw from the Paris agreement, climate campaigners reiterated concerns about the United States ditching the landmark 2015 deal that aims to bring countries together to tackle the climate emergency.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the move in a tweet Monday, the first day that world leaders could begin the one-year withdrawal process: Continue reading

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We mapped how food gets from farms to your home

Where has your produce been? CoolR/Shutterstock.com

Megan Konar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

My team at the University of Illinois just developed the first high-resolution map of the U.S. food supply chain.

Our map is a comprehensive snapshot of all food flows between counties in the U.S. – grains, fruits and vegetables, animal feed, and processed food items.

To build the map, we brought together information from eight databases, including the Freight Analysis Framework from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which tracks where items are shipped around the country, and Port Trade data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which shows the international ports through which goods are traded. Continue reading

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Could Congress reverse Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria?

U.S. forces are still in Syria, but their role has changed substantially in recent weeks. AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad

Sarah Burns, Rochester Institute of Technology

The political and humanitarian outcry condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria came soon after he made the announcement.

Trump’s actions paved the way for Turkish troops to attack U.S.-allied Kurdish forces that had been fighting the Islamic State group. In reaction, on Oct. 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution opposing his move, with strong bipartisan support. Continue reading

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With Little Fanfare, William Barr Formally Announces Orwellian Pre-Crime Program

A recent memorandum authored by Attorney General William Barr announced a new “pre-crime” program inspired by “War on Terror” tactics and is set to be implemented next year.

By Whitney Webb. Published 10-25-2019 by MintPress News

Graphic by Claudio Cabrera

Last Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a memorandum to all U.S. attorneys, law enforcement agencies and top ranking Justice Department officials announcing the imminent implementation of a new “national disruption and early engagement program” aimed at detecting potential mass shooters before they commit any crime.

Per the memorandum, Barr has “directed the Department [of Justice] and the FBI to lead an effort to refine our ability to identify, assess and engage potential mass shooters before they strike.” The Attorney General further described the coming initiative, slated to be implemented early next year, as “an efficient, effective and programmatic strategy to disrupt individuals who are mobilizing towards violence, by all lawful means.” More specific information about the program is set to follow the recent memorandum, according to Barr, though it is unclear if that forthcoming document will be made public. Continue reading

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Trump’s Stated Plan to Loot Syria’s Oil Reserves ‘Would Be a War Crime,’ Critics Say

“He’s pulling back that curtain and just telling you the truth.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-28-2019

An oil refinery in Homs, Syria. Photo: High Contrast Wikimedia/CC

While announcing that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed over the weekend, President Donald Trump made explicit the longstanding U.S. military policy of securing oil reserves in the Middle East regardless of the human lives that are lost in the process, a number of critics said Monday.

Trump told reporters in his Sunday press conference that the U.S. is entitled to Syria’s oil following the withdrawal of troops from the northeastern region of the country bordering Turkey. The president pulled soldiers out of the area earlier this month, while deploying troops to other parts of the country to protect oil fields from ISIS. Continue reading

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