Tag Archives: religion

US Military Clears Itself of Blame in Syria Strike That Killed ‘Piles’ of Women and Children

“It’s the standard government line: Mistakes were made but there was no wrongdoing. But if the same mistakes were being made over and over again for years, shouldn’t someone have done something about it?”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-18-2022 by Common Dreams

Airstrike on Baghuz – March 2019. Photo: Voice of America {public domain}

No U.S. personnel will be held accountable for a March 2019 airstrike that killed scores of Syrian civilians including women and children, the Pentagon said Tuesday in announcing that an internal investigation into the massacre found that no laws of war were broken and that there was no cover-up of the incident as alleged in a New York Times exposé.

An executive summary of a classified investigation led by U.S. Army Gen. Michael Garrett stated that “no rules of engagement (ROE) or law of war (LOW) violations occurred” in connection with the March 18, 2019 strike near the Syrian town of Baghuz that, according to an initial battle assessment, killed around 70 people. Continue reading

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‘We need to take an unusual step’: a Polish feminist’s message to her US sisters

I’ve seen what a draconian abortion law can do in Poland. Here is what I think we should do

By Klementyna Suchanow  Published 5-12-2022 by openDemocracy

Protest against Poland’s abortion laws held in Gdansk on 10-24-2020. Photo: LukaszKatlewa/Wikimedia Commons/CC

I co-founded the Polish Women’s Strike, which led a series of anti-government demonstrations following the almost-total outlawing of abortion in 2020. I have spent six years of my life protesting attempts to restrict women’s access to it and to defend democracy. That’s why nothing surprises me about the Roe v Wade situation in the United States. In fact, there is a clear similarity: public opinion says one thing, while a group of zealots forces an entire nation to do the opposite.

Poland has had restrictive laws in place since 1993, with abortion only legally available in cases of rape and incest, threat to the mother’s life, or severe foetal abnormality. After an unsuccessful attempt to further restrict abortion in the Polish Sejm (the lower house of the country’s parliament) in October 2016, a law banning the abortion of non-viable foetuses finally came into force on 22 October 2020. It was imposed by the Constitutional Tribunal, an institution whose independence and legality is itself in question. The new law means that women are now forced to carry their pregnancy to term and give birth to a dead foetus. Continue reading

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Nationwide ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ Rallies Planned for Saturday

“With the Supreme Court planning to overturn Roe v. Wade, we are at a tipping point in the fight to be able to make decisions about our own bodies, lives, and futures.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-13-2022 by Common Dreams

Supreme Court rally after the decision on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt Texas abortion case, 2016. Photo: Adam Fagen/flickr/CC

People across the United States are planning to take to the streets on Saturday, May 14 to protest right-wing attacks on abortion rights, including the looming reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Pro-choice groups—including Planned Parenthood organizations, Liberate Abortion, MoveOn, Service Employees International Union, UltraViolet, and Women’s March—are putting together marches, rallies, and other events for the “Bans Off Our Bodies” day of action. Continue reading

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With Roe Under Threat, Sale of Location Data on Abortion Clinic Patients Raises Alarm

“Companies that traffic in personal, geolocation, advertising, or other data could become digital crime scenes for eager prosecutors armed with subpoenas,” said one expert on technology and gender.

By Julia Conley   Published 5-4-2022 by Common Dreams

A buffer zone around Planned Parenthood in Burlington, VT Photo: Adam Fagan/flickr/CC

A location data firm said Wednesday that it would no longer sell information about people who visit abortion clinics after reporting on the company’s sales raised alarm, but privacy advocates warned that strict regulation is needed to protect patients from such sales—particularly in light of news that abortion rights are likely to be rolled back by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Vice reported Tuesday that data firm SafeGraph has sold sets of aggregated location data regarding people who have visited abortion clinics including Planned Parenthood, showing where patients travel from, how much time they spend at the healthcare centers, and where they go afterwards. Continue reading

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Arizona Slammed for Permitting Uranium Mine That Imperils Grand Canyon Tribe’s Water

“Uranium contamination in a system like this is forever and while the mining company can walk away, the Havasupai tribe can’t. This is, and always has been, their home.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 4-29-2022 by Common Dreams

Havasupai activists protest against uranium mining in the Grand Canyon. (Photo: Jake Hoyungawa/Grand Canyon Trust)

Indigenous and environmental activists on Friday condemned an Arizona agency’s approval of a key permit for a uranium mine near the Grand Canyon that opponents say threatens the land, water, wildlife—and Native Americans’ ancestral obligation to safeguard a place they’ve called home for centuries.

The Arizona Republic reports the state’s Department of Environmental Quality on Thursday issued an aquifer protection plan permit for Canada-based Energy Fuels Resources’ Pinyon Plain Mine, located about 10 miles south of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in Kaibab National Forest.

Conservationists and tribes have long opposed the mine, which has been in various stages of planning and preparation since 1984 but from which no uranium has yet been extracted. The Havasupai people, some of whom live in a nearby canyon, say the project imperils their sole source of drinking water.

“Mining uranium in the Grand Canyon watershed threatens the enduring legacy of this landscape and jeopardizes the entire water supply of the Havasupai people,” Michè Lozano, Arizona program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), said in a statement, warning of the “incredible threats that uranium mining poses to the limited underground sources that feed the canyon’s creeks and waterways.”

According to NPCA:

The mine… has a history of flooding as it depletes shallow groundwater aquifers that express at South Rim springs. It also threatens to permanently contaminate deep aquifers that feed Havasu Creek and other springs. The approval comes despite calls by the Havasupai Tribe and conservation groups to close the Pinyon Plain Mine given its risks to water and tribal cultural resources…

In late 2016 mineshaft drilling pierced shallow aquifers, causing water pumped from the mine to spike from 151,000 gallons in 2015 to 1.4 million gallons in 2016. In the years since then, inflow has ranged from 8.8 million gallons in 2017 to 10.76 million gallons in 2019; most recently, the mine took on 8,261,406 gallons of groundwater in 2021.

Since 2016, dissolved uranium in that water has consistently exceeded federal toxicity limits by more than 300% and arsenic levels by more than 2,800%.

“Neither regulators nor the uranium industry can ensure that mining won’t permanently damage the Grand Canyon’s precious aquifers and springs,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This permit strenuously ignores science showing the potential for deep aquifer pollution, and in a region still plagued by seven decades of uranium industry pollution, risking more, as this permit does, is dangerous.”

Asserting that “uranium mines do not belong among the complex groundwater systems that surround the Grand Canyon,” Amber Reimondo, energy director for the Grand Canyon Trust, said that “uranium contamination in a system like this is forever and while the mining company can walk away, the Havasupai tribe can’t. This is, and always has been, their home.”

Havasupai tribal leaders have long argued against uranium mining on lands from which their ancestors were ethnically cleansed to make way for white tourists before being pressed into dehumanizing railroad labor.

One of the staunchest Havasupai mining opponents, the late Tribal Chairman Rex Tilousi, believed that his people “were given a responsibility to protect and preserve this land and water for those yet to come.”

“The ancient rock writing in our canyon tells us to protect this place,” Tilousi said at a 2018 prayer gathering. “The canyon doesn’t belong to us. We belong to the canyon, to the Earth, to the water. It created us and gave us life. We are fighting for our lives and for those who are yet to come.”

Carletta Tilousi, Rex’s niece and a member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, spoke against uranium mining at an Earth Day rally in Phoenix last week.

“Native Americans, we have struggled so far and so long, and we don’t need it anymore,” she said. “We want to make sure our future generations have clean air, clean water, and a happy life. That’s all we ask for.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
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EU Enacts Landmark Social Media Law to End Self-Regulation by Big Tech

“As the U.S. agonizes over misinformation and hate speech on social media and the harm it does to democracy,” said one journalist, the European Union passed the Digital Services Act “to tackle the problem.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 4-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Jason Howie/flickr/CC

The European Union on Saturday passed a landmark law that seeks to reduce social media’s harmful effects by requiring Big Tech corporations to quash disinformation and illicit content on their platforms or else face multibillion-dollar fines.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) would compel Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and other platforms “to set up new policies and procedures to remove flagged hate speech, terrorist propaganda, and other material defined as illegal by countries within the European Union,” the New York Times reported. Continue reading

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French Elections: Tens of Thousands Marched Saturday Against Far-Right Le Pen

A new poll out Saturday by Ipsos Sopra/Steria shows Macron leading with 55.5 percent versus 44.5 percent for Le Pen

By Common Dreams  Published 4-16-2022

Antifascist march in Paris on 4-16-2022. Photo: @Ange_Anonymous/Twitter

Tens of thousands of anti-far right protesters marched across France on Saturday as opponents of presidential candidate Marine Le Pen seek to form a united front to prevent her from winning ahead of next weekend’s presidential run-off.

Macron, a centrist, defeated Le Pen in 2017 when voters rallied behind him in the run-off to keep her far-right party out of power. Continue reading

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New GOP Laws ‘Will Devastate Abortion Access Across Large Parts of the Nation’

“Florida has been a critical haven for abortion access in the South, and this ban will decimate abortion access for Floridians and the entire region,” one group said after the governor’s signature.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 4-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Adam Fagen/flickr/CC

After Florida’s GOP governor on Thursday signed a 15-week abortion ban inspired by a contested Mississippi law that could soon reverse Roe v. Wade, pro-choice advocates warned of impacts across the region, given that the Sunshine State has long been “an oasis of reproductive care in the South.”

With Gov. Ron DeSantis’ support, Florida’s law is set to take effect this summer. His signature came after Republican state legislators in Kentucky on Wednesday overrode their Democratic governor’s veto of a similar bill and GOP Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a near-total abortion ban. Continue reading

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The French election is all about imperialism. Here’s why

With oligarchs using their media outlets to promote far-Right presidential candidates, France is being haunted by its own ghosts

By Adam Ramsay  Pubished 4-6-2022 by openDemocracy

Screenshot: CNN

To understand the coming French election, we need to start not with the incumbent president Emmanuel Macron, nor with any of his rival candidates, but with a billionaire called Vincent Bolloré.

Like many oligarchs, he started out by inheriting a family business founded by his ancestors – in this case, in the 1820s. These days, the eponymous Bolloré is one of the 500 biggest companies in the world, and has a stranglehold on West African trade, controlling 16 major ports down the coast from Mauritania to Congo-Brazzaville. Continue reading

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SCOTUS is about to decide whether a public school football coach can pray on the field

When is a prayer after a public-school game constitutional?
TerryJ/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Charles J. Russo, University of Dayton

The Supreme Court has consistently banned school-sponsored prayer in public K-12 schools, whether at the start of the school day, during graduation ceremonies or before football games. Under the Equal Access Act, the Supreme Court has affirmed that students may organize prayer and Bible study clubs during non-instructional hours. Even so, school staff and outside adults may not actively participate.

Lower courts have mostly forbidden public school teachers from openly praying in the workplace, even if students are not involved. Yet the Supreme Court has not directly addressed such a case – until now. Continue reading

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