Posts Tagged ‘rights’

Israel Assassinating Iranian Civilians – US Officials

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Israel has been orchestrating targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. Wow! There’s been rumors for some time, but now it’s confirmed by US officials, via NBC news.

Arming and training terrorist groups? For shame, Israel.

Last week, the US military drew a line, saying military support for Israel is most definitely conditional. Now, with this new leak, it appears the US may be throwing Israel under the bus.

Good! Not to hate on any non-extremist Israeli citizens, but the State of Israel has been committing egregious human rights violations for far too long. The sooner the international community drops support for the terror-sponsoring nation of Israel, the better our world will be.

Stop ACTA – It’s like SOPA on Steroids

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Something extraordinary happened this week: droves of freedom fighters coordinated an online protest which successfully stalled the notoriously flawed censorship bills, SOPA and PIPA. It was a glorious victory for the people, exemplifying what can happen when millions of us work together.

But this is no time to get complacent. A greater threat has been looming. An international treaty – in development for a few years now – has the potential to go beyond simply crushing Internet freedom.

The Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement – ACTA – is the product of background, closed door negotiations by appointed (not democratically elected) representatives. Whose interests do these people represent? Why, the biggest corporations on earth, of course.

Here’s some information to get you up to speed about this growing danger to the future of a free human race:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Po8UI6ujvY

Redditor justicia311 also shares a concise analysis of the latest version of ACTA and what it could mean for our world. Scary stuff!

If and when ACTA gets shot down, there will still be more liberty-stripping bills coming down the pipe. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and this holds true for the digital realm as well.

Women March in Cairo

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

“Drag me, strip me! “My brothers’ blood will cover me!” “The girls of Egypt are here!” These are a few of the angry cries heard on the streets of Cairo today, as thousands of female activists took part in what may have been the biggest female demonstration in Egypt’s history.

Recent images showing soldiers beating, stripping and kicking a female demonstrator provoked the ire of the matriarchal mass, sparking the first female-led demonstration to come to fruition since February’s successful ousting of President Mubarak.

The protest clearly had an effect, as Egypt’s ruling military council quickly offered up an apology.

“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces expresses its utmost sorrow for the great women of Egypt, for the violations that took place during the recent events,” the council said in a statement. “It stresses its great appreciation for the women of Egypt and for their right to protest and to actively, positively participate in political life on the path of democratic transition.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was shocked by the recent events.

“Women are being beaten and humiliated in the same streets where they risked their lives for the revolution only a few short months ago,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Women are being attacked, stripped, and beaten in the streets. This systematic degradation of Egyptian women disgraces the state and its uniform.”

14 civilians have been killed this week, and over 700 more were injured in clashes with Egyptian military – a fact making the bravery exemplified by these empowered women all the more noteworthy.

Corporations Seeking Immunity for Rape, Torture, Genocide

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Imagine what can happen when international corporations are no longer liable for committing heinous crimes against humanity. It’s a scary premise for any entity, let alone some of the world’s most influential and vehemently greedy institutions.

Yet that is precisely what is being ruled on right now in the US, where a split decision is due to be settled in the Supreme Court.

The case centers around Shell Oil subsidiaries that colluded with the Nigerian government to torture and execute individuals protesting against the companies’ oil exploration. Plaintiffs filed suit in a US district court under the Alien Tort Statute, which empowers federal courts to hear cases by “an alien” bringing a civil suit for wrongs committed “in violation of the law of nations.”

Last year, while ruling on the Citizens United bill, the Supreme court found the First Amendment does mean Corporations are considered people, opening the doors for unlimited political spending by business entities. Now, this same ruling might make international corporations financially liable for their actions.

Of course, given how much clout these mega-conglomerates yield, it won’t come as a huge surprise to see the Supreme Court affording corporations all the pros of personhood while shielding them from any cons – like facing repercussions for using mass murder as a business tactic.

Whatever comes of this ruling, it certainly shows us the direction the pro-corporatism people want to take our world. It is far more profitable when businesses get all the benefits the government offers, while at the same time skirting any accountability and shirking all responsibility to the world in which they exist.

This is why populist movements, like #occupy, are so essential. The pro-business side will continue to tirelessly and systematically stack the cards in their own favor at the expense of everyone else. Unless we fight tooth and nail right now, the hill we’re climbing towards a more just civilization could very well grow into a mountain right under our feet.

Brutality on Wall Street – Stanford Comes Alive

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

One week down, countless more to go for the daring dissenters from the movement to occupy Wall Street. Despite dozens of arrests, the protesters are holding strong, maintaining an indomitable presence near America’s financial heart.

Now, if you’re looking to be outraged, check out the above video that shows police corralling and pepper spraying a group of frightened females.

Ugh, that is entirely reprehensible. Absurd! The officer who did the actual spraying should be fired, and the police department deserves to be sued.

Whenever these badged bullies use unnecessary force upon activists it makes me long for the days when we view the whole police/protesters scenario like a massive Stanford Prison Experiment.

The Stanford case, if you didn’t already know, involved a 14-day study with 24 students split into two groups – half as the prisoners and half as the guards. The entire experiment was abruptly stopped after only six days as the test degraded to the point of prisoners being tortured by the designated captors.

In New York, the same situation is playing out right now. On one side, some humans have taken the role as activists, and most choose to simply exercise their rights of non-violent civil disobedience.

On the other side, some humans have been entrusted with the role of protectors – sworn to uphold the law. But, as Stanford alluded to, authorities will abuse the power they’ve been given.

So what’s the solution? Well, why not pass laws that make it mandatory for every single member from riot squads to make public a video feed of their actions. Put it all online – unaltered –  open to public scrutiny.

Like the protesters on Wall Street are finding out, the 1% who control most of the wealth are scared of the 99% who want greater equality. It is imperative that we – the regular people of the world – push back against the encroaching security state, now, while we still can.

And one great way to do that is to make it really easy for anyone and everyone to police the police.

****UPDATE****

The officer who point blank maced a penned in group of young women and then slinked away has been identified as Deputy Inspector Anthony V. Bologna. Follow the link for a few ways to file a complaint.

Israel to Forcefully Evict 30000 – Making Room for Settlements

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

With the looming threat of a UN recognized Palestinian state, Israel has to act quickly to violate as many human rights as they can before the International Community really slaps on the sanctions. That’s why they just approved a plan to relocate some 20,000 to 30,000 Bedouon into recognized settlements.

See, when you’re worried about the erosion of your own culture, it doesn’t matter if you cause it for someone else. By always being the victim, you have a catch-all excuse for any ethnic cleansing you may happen to cause.

The first to be relocated will be the approximately 2,400 Bedouin living in – surprise, surprise – an area east of Jerusalem, easing Israel’s plan to expand existing Jewish settlements. The mass eviction will eventually relocate the rest of the Bedouin living in other areas of the West Bank.

Wow. What a braindead idea, ripe for all kinds of immoral and illegal acts. Sure, the State of Israel is no stranger to committing atrocities. In fact, their entire nation was forged by forcing people from their homes.

But you’d think they would be content without their very own Trail of Tears.

US Troops Handcuff, Execute Elderly Women and Children

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

Wikileaks just dumped 250,000 un-redacted US embassy cables – most of which were classified – to the series of tubes we call the Internet. Out of the many stories which have already surfaced, none, so far, are more damning than one stemming from a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi.

The leaked cable provides evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, and then they called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence!!! Autopsies showed that all the dead – including four woman and five children aged 5 years or younger – had been handcuffed and shot in the head.

Disgusting.

Hopefully these and other leaked documents will provide the push needed to hold the key players behind this war – Bush, Cheney, Rummy – accountable for their crimes against humanity. Then, maybe the next time a problem arises, leaders won’t be quite so eager to drop the bombs.

Canadian Conservatives Consider Bolstering Big Brother

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

(Big Harper is watching you.)

Not one to shy away from the motto “Freedom is Slavery”, Stephen Harper and his conservative cronies have been drafting a new bill intent on making it easier for law enforcement agencies to peer into the private lives of Canadian citizens.

The bill deals with “lawful access” rules, giving police expanded influence for compelling Internet service providers to disclose customer information without a court order. The bill would also ban telcos from admitting that they have provided any such information.

Oh, great. That’s exactly what we need. More sweeping police powers. Why not install CCTV’s in everyone’s home while you’re at it, Mr. Harper?

No, actually don’t. That was just sarcasm.

We Canadians are doing fine already. Crime rates across the nation have been dropping for over a decade now. Sacrificing our precious civil liberties won’t likely help this trend.

The Conservative’s lawyers and lobbyists might be able to draft a bill that dances around the problem of being unconstitutional, but they’ll never prevent it from being unnecessary.

US Losing Unions, China Gaining Them

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

(No, no, no… you can’t wear white after a labor day protest!)

As union busting legislation creeps into American politics, the world’s soon-to-be superpower – China – has seen increasing trends towards unionization. The Independent’s Johann Hari describes China’s atrocious working conditions:

Deaths from overwork are so common in Chinese factories that they have a word for it: guolaosi. China Daily estimates that 600,000 people are killed this way every year, mostly making goods for us.

In 2009 the US National Labour Committee sent Chinese investigators undercover there. On the first day a teenage worker whispered to them: “We are like prisoners here.” The staff work and live in giant factory-cities that they almost never leave. Each room sleeps 10 workers, and each dorm houses 5,000. There are no showers; they are given a sponge to clean themselves with.

A typical shift begins at 7.45am and ends at 10.55pm. Workers must report to their stations 15 minutes ahead of schedule for a military-style drill: “Everybody, attention! Face left! Face right!” Once they begin, they are strictly forbidden from talking, listening to music, or going to the lavatory. Anybody who breaks this rule is screamed at and made to clean the lavatories as punishment. Then it’s back to the dorm.

It’s the human equivalent of battery farming.

Fortunately, the indomitable human spirit refuses to be caged like cogs in a machine. Collectivist action has been growing across the Sleeping Dragon. Hari:

Across 126,000 Chinese factories, workers have refused to live like this any more. Wildcat unions have sprung up, organised by text message, demanding higher wages, a humane work environment, and the right to organise freely. Millions of young workers across the country are blockading their factories and chanting, “There are no human rights here!” and, “We want freedom!”

Last year, the Chinese dictatorship was so panicked by the widespread uprisings that it prepared an extraordinary step forward. It drafted a new labour law that would allow workers to form and elect their own trade unions. It would plant seeds of democracy across China’s workplaces.

This year Chinese workers have risen even harder to demand a fair share of the prosperity they create. Now company after company is making massive concessions: pay rises of over 60 per cent are being conceded. Even more crucially, officials in Guandong province, the manufacturing heartland of the country, have announced that they are seriously considering allowing workers to elect their own representatives to carry out collective bargaining after all.

A positive sign indeed. More power to our fellow freedom fighters in China.

Vermont Working to Tighten Leash on Corporations

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Lawmakers from the plucky little state of Vermont have begun the process of removing the right of personhood from corporate entities. This resolution, once it passes, will strike a significant blow against corporations across the state and will help drive forward the anti-corporatist agenda in America.

Corporations, in their modern form, wield so much influence over the political landscape that they can effectively undermine democracy.

For example, under the Citizens United ruling, corporations can use their status as a ‘person’ to fund – without limit – independent broadcasts for election campaigns. This means corporations can spend as much as they want on commercials to promote their ideal candidate, or they can drag the name of anyone with an opposing viewpoint through the mud.

Democracy is supposed to reflect the will of the people, not the will of powerful business entities. When politicians and lawmakers serve as shills to corporate interests, we run into a situation Honest Abraham Lincoln warned us about:

“Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

For the sake of democracy around the world and the freedom of humankind, it is imperative that we actively work to keep corporations on a short leash today.