Tag Archives: United States

United States and Iran Help China Push Global Executions to 10-Year High

Lawmakers in southern U.S. states accused of demonstrating “a chilling commitment” to state-sponsored murder alongside “a callous intent to invest resources in the taking of human life.”

By Jon Queally. Published 5-29-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: AFSC/CC

The number of executions worldwide hit a nearly 10-year high in 2023 thanks to a surge in state killings by Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and the United States.

A new global report published by Amnesty International documents that the death penalty was imposed on 1,153 people last year, though the total is believed to be significantly higher due to the secrecy surrounding China’s penal system. The international human rights group believes “thousands” of people were executed by the Chinese government, but the exact figure is not known.

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‘Biggest Ever Global Strike Against Amazon’ Kicks Off on Black Friday

“This day of action grows every year because the movement to hold Amazon accountable keeps getting bigger and stronger,” said the head of UNI Global Union.

By Jake Johnson. Published 11-24-2023 by Common Dreams

Amazon workers and allies take part in a “Make Amazon Pay” day of action on November 24, 2023. (Photo: Global Justice Now)

Amazon workers and allies in dozens of countries around the world took to the streets Friday to protest the e-commerce behemoth’s atrocious working conditions, low pay, union busting, tax dodging, and inaction on planet-warming emissions.

The “Make Amazon Pay” strikes and rallies coincided with Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year and one of Amazon’s most profitable. Amazon workers across the globe—in ever-larger numbers—have been walking off the job on Black Friday for years to demand better treatment from the $1.5 trillion company.

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Biden Administration Poised to Supply Ukraine With Banned Cluster Bombs

An official announcement is expected very soon.

By Common Dreams. Published 7-1-2023

Allegedly out of date NATO CBU-87 cluster bomb used in bombing of Yugoslavia; in 1999. Photo: Petar Milošević/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The Biden administration is considering providing Ukraine with cluster bombs and may announce this decision in early July, NBC News reports.

“We have been thinking about DPICM for a long time,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday at the National Press Club. “Yes, of course, there’s a decision-making process ongoing.”

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Nuclear weapons on rise in a world where ‘peace through deterrence’ is a myth

Powerful nations are prepared to use nuclear weapons first. This is why their proliferation is worrying analysts

By Paul Rogers. Published 6-16-2023 by openDemocracy

A B61 tactical nuclear weapon, probably an inert training version. U.S. AIR FORCE

The world is “drifting into one of the most dangerous periods in human history”, according to a leading security research centre, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). At the root of its concern is that, though the number of nuclear warheads is still far lower than during the Cold War years, nuclear modernisation and development programmes in the nine nuclear-armed states are leading to an expansion in the number of warheads held.

The numbers are small, according to the SIPRI Yearbook 2023: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, just 86 more warheads than in January last year in a global inventory of 12,512. So why the concern? Who has the warheads and why is the number increasing rather than decreasing?

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The risk of nuclear war over Ukraine is real. We need diplomacy now

The Cold War may be over, but Russia’s nuclear threat is real and dangerous. We must act to avoid a crisis

By Paul Rogers Published 4-14-2023 by openDemocracy

Nuclear missile in a Victory Day parade in Moscow’s Red Square. Photo: kremlin.ru/CC

Four days into the war in Ukraine, with the Russian advance slowed by unexpected Ukrainian resistance, Vladimir Putin made his first threat of escalation, implying the use of tactical nuclear weapons if NATO became heavily involved in supporting Ukraine. Since then, the threat of escalation has always been in the background – and has occasionally come to the fore.

The most recent example of this is the announcement from Moscow that Russian nuclear weapons will be forward-based in Belarus. These will mainly be nuclear-armed versions of the Iskander missile, which will be placed close to Belarus’s western border with NATO states. Russia will also train Belarusian pilots in flying planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

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Could Putin’s war crimes charges give ICC more authority over Western leaders?

Comparisons between destruction in Iraq and Ukraine could boost the International Criminal Court’s authority in the West

By Paul Rogers  Published 3-25-2023 by openDemocracy

Vladimir_Putin. Photo: Kremlin/CC

In the space of a week, three very different events have occurred that have done much to shape the future of the war in Ukraine. One is the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring war crimes charges against Vladimir Putin; the second is the three-day visit of China’s president Xi Jingping to Moscow; and the third is the 20th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War and the end of the Saddam Hussein regime. All three are set against a background of a bitter and devastating war in Ukraine that could well continue for many months or even years.

As to the war itself, Western states – and especially the United States – continue to provide a wide range of weapons and materiel, certainly enough to make it difficult to envisage a Russian victory. Yet the degree of Western support isn’t sufficient to allow Ukraine to force the Russian military out of eastern Ukraine, still less Crimea. While Ukrainian military forces are bearing the brunt of the war, they are simply not getting sufficient military supplies to put them in a winning position. The whole pace of the war continues to be dictated by Washington. Continue reading

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US Increases Dominance as World’s Top Arms Exporter

“The impacts of the global arms trade aren’t just about the volume of weapons delivered,” said one expert, citing “a few examples of how U.S. arms deliveries can make the world a more dangerous place.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 3-13-2023 by Common Dreams

U.S. Air Force members load 155 mm M777 towed howitzers onto a C-17 Globemaster III on March Air Reserve Base in California on April 27, 2022. (Photo: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Shawn White)

A Sweden-based research institute published a report Monday showing that the United States accounted for 40% of the world’s weapons exports in the years 2018-22, selling armaments to more than 100 countries while increasing its dominance of the global arms trade.

The report—entitled Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2022—was published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and listed the United States, Russia, France, China, and Germany as the world’s top five arms exporters from 2018-22. The five nations accounted for 76% of worldwide weapons exports during that period.

The five biggest arms importers over those five years were India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia, and China.

The United States saw a 14% increase in arms exports over the previous five-year period analyzed by SIPRI. U.S. arms were delivered to 103 nations from 2018-22, with 41% going to the Middle East.

“Even as arms transfers have declined globally, those to Europe have risen sharply due to the tensions between Russia and most other European states,” Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher at the SIPRI Arms Transfers Program, said in a statement. “Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European states want to import more arms, faster. Strategic competition also continues elsewhere: Arms imports to East Asia have increased and those to the Middle East remain at a high level.”

According to the report, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine early last year “had only a limited impact on the total volume of arms transfers in 2018–22, but Ukraine did become a major importer of arms in 2022.”

Ukraine was the 14th-largest arms importer from 2018-22 and the third-biggest last year.

Wiliam Hartung, a senior research fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, wrote Monday that “the impacts of the global arms trade aren’t just about the volume of weapons delivered. The question is how those weapons are likely to be used, and the extent to which they promote stability versus fueling conflict or propping up repressive regimes with abysmal human rights records.”

“On this score the United States has much room for improvement,” he continued. “Transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for use at the peak of their brutal war in Yemen, and sales to major human rights violators from the Philippines, Egypt, and Nigeria are a few examples of how U.S. arms deliveries can make the world a more dangerous place.”

“There are a number of promising steps that Congress can take—as articulated by a new coalition, the Arms Sales Accountability Project—that would mandate closer scrutiny of U.S. sales,” Hartung asserted.

“There is also some useful language in the Biden administration’s new arms transfer policy directive, that, if implemented, would significantly rein in the most egregious sales,” he added. “Only time will tell if U.S. policy can be moved towards one based on arms sales restraint rather than arms sales promotion.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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Fearing Future Probes of US Atrocities, Pentagon Blocks ICC From Russian War Crimes Evidence

“The Ukrainian people deserve accountability. By blocking the sharing of evidence with the ICC, the administration, contrary to its stated position, is undermining it,” said one expert.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 3-9-2023 by Common Dreams

Bucha after Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: rbc.ua, CC BY 4.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pentagon is helping to shield Russia from International Criminal Court accountability for its atrocities in Ukraine, fearing such a reckoning could set a precedent allowing the tribunal to prosecute U.S. war crimes, a report published Wednesday revealed.

According to The New York Times, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III and other Pentagon brass are blocking the Biden administration from sharing evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies with the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the objections of officials in those agencies, as well as in the State and Justice departments. Continue reading

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Peruvian Forces Accused of ‘Massacre’ of 17 Protesters Opposed to Government Takeover

The governor of Puno province has declared three days of mourning for the victims of the killing in Juliaca, who include a 17-year-old girl.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 1-10-2023 by Common Dreams

Protest in Lima, Peru on 12-13-2022 Photo: Mayimbú/Wikimedia Commons/CC

At least 17 people were killed by state security forces in southern Peru Monday while protesting the government of unelected President Dina Boluarte and the ouster and imprisonment of former leftist leader Pedro Castillo.

The Peruvian Health Ministry published the names and ages of 17 victims of what’s being called the Juliaca massacre, which took place in the Indigenous Aymara city of Juliaca, the capital of San Román province in the Puno region of southeastern Peru near Lake Titicaca and the Bolivian border. The youngest of the slain protesters is a 17-year-old girl, Nataly Aroquipa, who was reportedly shot in the abdomen. Continue reading

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Elon Musk’s Twitter is more dangerous than you think

Beyond Musk’s oft-repeated rants about free speech, may lie shadier plans to recoup the $44bn he paid for the site

By Adam Ramsay  Published 11-11-2022 by openDemocracy

The world is burning and Ukraine is trudging into a winter of war. Prices are spiralling and the NHS is limping. The US and Brazil have held the line against fascism, just, while Italy has fallen to the far right. Watching the disastrous takeover of Twitter by the world’s richest bam can feel a little frivolous. So what if it becomes a rich boy’s toy? It often felt like that anyway.

But the thing is, we can’t solve the world’s problems without talking, and social media has become the way we do that. At its best, a space beyond the increasingly oligarch-owned press where citizens of the world can chatter, gossip, joke and revolt; can organise into new collectives and explore new identities and senses of self. At its worst, well, I don’t need to tell you. Continue reading

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