Tag Archives: Atrocities

‘Weapon of War’: Cori Bush Decries Unregulated Use of Tear Gas on US Civilians

“The current design of our law enforcement is militarized,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-14-2021

Tear gas in front of Oakland Museum – Occupy Oakland January 2012. Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr/CC

Following a call by Rep. Cori Bush to investigate the use of tear gas on civilians by law enforcement, the House Oversight Committee on Thursday released a memo showing that the federal government has never determined the unregulated chemical to be safe for use on humans—despite the fact that manufacturers earn millions of dollars per year providing tear gas to police departments across the country.

Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who chair the Oversight Committee’s panels on economic and consumer policy and civil rights liberties, respectively, released the memo decrying “a complete void in the regulation of tear gas, a weapon that is banned in war yet commonly used against U.S. citizens.” Continue reading

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Leaving Post, Top Official Blasts Biden Over Use of ‘Inhumane’ Trump-Era Deportation Policy

The current administration is using Title 42 “to rebuff the pleas of thousands of Haitians and myriad others arriving at the Southern Border who are fleeing violence, persecution, or torture.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-5-2021

Photo: Robert Brown/Twitter

A senior official departing the Biden State Department has issued a blistering critique of the administration’s ongoing use of a Trump-era policy “to rebuff the pleas of thousands of Haitians and myriad others arriving at the Southern Border who are fleeing violence, persecution, or torture” and urged his remaining colleagues “to do everything in your power to revise this policy.”

The rebuke, Politico first reported, came in an Oct. 2 internal memo—which centers on the government’s use of Title 42—from resigning senior adviser Harold Koh. Continue reading

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An autonomous robot may have already killed people – here’s how the weapons could be more destabilizing than nukes

The term ‘killer robot’ often conjures images of Terminator-like humanoid robots. Militaries around the world are working on autonomous machines that are less scary looking but no less lethal.
John F. Williams/U.S. Navy

James Dawes, Macalester College

Autonomous weapon systems – commonly known as killer robots – may have killed human beings for the first time ever last year, according to a recent United Nations Security Council report on the Libyan civil war. History could well identify this as the starting point of the next major arms race, one that has the potential to be humanity’s final one.

Autonomous weapon systems are robots with lethal weapons that can operate independently, selecting and attacking targets without a human weighing in on those decisions. Militaries around the world are investing heavily in autonomous weapons research and development. The U.S. alone budgeted US$18 billion for autonomous weapons between 2016 and 2020. Continue reading

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Utilities Took $1.25 Billion in Pandemic Aid Then Shut Off Power to Households Nearly 1 Million Times: Report

“These companies took bailout dollars from taxpayers and turned around to lobby against shutoff moratoria proven to save lives.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-30-2021

A new report from BailoutWatch and the Center for Biological Diversity reveals that leading U.S. utilities took $1.25 billion in pandemic relief funds even as they cut off power to vulnerable households nearly a million times. Photo: Matt Wiebe/Flickr/cc

Over a dozen leading U.S. utility companies took more than a billion dollars of publicly-funded pandemic bailout money while pulling the plug on power to vulnerable households nearly a million times, according to a new report out Thursday.

The Center for Biological Diversity and BailoutWatch report—entitled Powerless in the Pandemic: After Bailouts, Electric Utilities Choose Profits Over People—details how utilities used their political power “to secure bailouts that cost taxpayers $1.25 billion, cushioning them from the pandemic economy,” while disconnecting vital services from some of the most vulnerable U.S. households. Continue reading

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Alabama GOP Condemned for Plan to Build Prisons With Covid-19 Funds

“The Republican Party in a nutshell: contemptible, cruel, and corrupt.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-29-2021

Advocates on Wednesday condemned Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey for her plan to use coronavirus relief funds to construct prisons. (Photo: Josh Rushing/cc/ACLU of Louisiana)

Local activists in Montgomery, Alabama were joined by rights advocates across the country on Wednesday in condemning Republican Gov. Kay Ivey’s plan to use federal coronavirus relief funds to build three new prisons in the state—what the governor called “an Alabama solution to this Alabama problem” of overcrowding.

At a rally outside the State House as legislators debated the plan, demonstrators spoke about some of the inmates and prison workers who have died of Covid-19—at least 69 people, according to the Alabama Political Reporter. Continue reading

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Frustrated Tribal Leaders Urge Biden to Immediately Restore Bears Ears Monument

“We have tried to be patient and respectful as we await your decision on restoration. However, the longer action is not taken, real harm, much permanent, is occurring on this sacred landscape.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-28-2021

Bears Ears National Monument in Utah is home to more than 100,000 Native American archaeological and cultural sites. (Photo: Bob Wick/U.S. Bureau of Land Management/Flickr/cc)

Amid increasing frustration, leaders of two Native American tribes are calling on President Joe Biden to “take immediate action” to restore and enlarge Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, according to a letter published Tuesday by The Washington Post.

In the letter, Hopi Tribal Vice Chair Clark W. Tenakhongva and Navajo Nation representative Henry Stevens Jr. note that eight months have passed since Biden, on his first day in office, signed an executive order directing the U.S. Department of the Interior to conduct a comprehensive review of former President Donald Trump’s 85% reduction of the 1.35 million-acre reserve, the result of a December 2017 presidential proclamation. Continue reading

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Critics Fume as ICC Excludes US From Probe Into Afghan War Crimes

“Allowing powerful states to get away with multi-year, multi-continent torture against so many feeds impunity for all.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-27-2021

Photo: pixabay

A Monday announcement from the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor saying his office is seeking approval to resume its investigation into potential war crimes in Afghanistan committed by the Taliban and the Islamic State—but excluding alleged atrocities committed by U.S. forces—sparked a flurry of outrage from human rights defenders.

“It seems there is no end to the betrayal of Afghans—now so many victims of torture and other abuses by U.S. and former Afghan government forces have been told there is no justice for you,” Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director for Human Rights Watch, tweeted Monday in response to the announcement. Continue reading

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‘This Cannot Happen’: Biden DHS Seeks Contractor for Migrant Detention Center at Guantánamo Bay

The solicitation for bids—which requires some guards who speak Spanish and Haitian Creole—comes as the administration is under fire for mass deportations of migrants, including thousands of Haitians

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-22-2021

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

“This is an embarrassingly bad decision. Do better.”

That’s how U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) responded Wednesday to reporting that the Biden administration, already under fire this week for its immigration policies, “is seeking a private contractor to operate a migrant detention facility at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with a requirement that some of the guards speak Spanish and Haitian Creole.”

Though the White House, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not respond to requests for comment, the revelation from NBC News‘ Jacob Soboroff and Ken Dilanian sparked widespread condemnation. Continue reading

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Biden Admin. Sued for Letting Big Oil Harass ‘Imperiled’ Polar Bears

“We’re hopeful the court will overturn this dangerous rule that puts polar bears in the crosshairs.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-16-2021

A new rule announced on August 4, 2021 by the Biden administration will allow fossil fuel companies operating in northern Alaska to harass polar bears and walruses while searching or drilling for oil. Photo: Andreas Weith/Wikimedia/CC

A coalition of conservation groups sued the Biden administration on Thursday over the U.S. Department of the Interior’s recent rule allowing fossil fuel companies to harass polar bears and walruses while searching and drilling for oil and gas in the Southern Beaufort Sea.

Announced last month by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the rule was quickly blasted as “disturbing” by Kristen Monsell, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups behind the new federal lawsuit (pdf) in Alaska. Continue reading

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‘Dismaying’: Human Rights Groups Blast Biden Plan to OK Millions in Military Aid for Egypt

A coalition of 18 organizations called the administration’s decision “a terrible blow to its stated commitment to human rights and to the rule of law.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-14-2021

Members of the women-led peace group CodePink, including co-founder Medea Benjamin (center), protest against Egyptian human rights abuses in this undated photo. Photo: CodePink

Left-leaning Democratic lawmakers joined human rights groups Tuesday in decrying the Biden administration’s reported decision to withhold a small portion of the $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid to Egypt over human rights crimes perpetrated by the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

A U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity—the administration’s decision had not yet been announced—told multiple media outlets Tuesday that of the $300 million in military aid to Egypt that is subject to human rights conditions, $170 million will be initially authorized. Continue reading

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