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February 2021

Capitalism And Political Violence At Home And Abroad

Question: why do both conservative and liberal governments in the U.S. install right-wing governments abroad if ‘the U.S.’ opposes right-wing political violence? While right and left politics may seem to have limited descriptive value in many current conflicts, the interests of capital, broadly considered, represent an unwavering motive for them. Why then would military conflict in the interests of capital not be considered a left / right concern within the American political frame? Part of the answer is the Cold War conceptual shift away from conflicts between nations to a battle of ideologies. Another is the way that these conflicts are sold. To be clear, there are plenty of American nationalists who support militarism outside of their direct economic interests.

On Contact: Realities Of War

On the show this week, Chris Hedges discusses the realities of war, its appeal for young men and its destruction of them, with Salar Abdoh, novelist and essayist. Abdoh's new novel, 'Out of Mesopotamia', considered one of a handful of great modern war novels, tells the story of Saleh, a jaded, middle-aged Iranian reporter who accompanies Shia militias, as Abdoh did, in Iraq and Syria during the heavy fighting between 2014 and 2017.

Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

This latest Biden airstrike is being spun as “defensive” and “retaliatory” despite its targeting a nation the US invaded (Syria) in response to alleged attacks on US forces in another nation the US invaded (Iraq). You can’t invade a nation and then claim self-defense there. That’s not a thing. If you’re uncritically repeating US government claims about its justifications for acts of mass military violence, you’re not doing journalism, you’re writing Pentagon press releases. It’s like the Biden administration is actively trying to vindicate everyone who spent the last four years saying that as far as policy decisions are concerned there’s nothing unusual about the Trump administration.

Thomas Sankara: A United Front Against Debt

At the 1987 summit of the Organization of African Unity, Thomas Sankara warned that he would not live to attend another meeting if Burkina Faso were alone in resisting its debt obligations. A few months later, he was murdered in a coup backed by France for calling out the neocolonialist and imperial character of the debt imposed on African countries and calling for African unity and freedom. Mister President, Heads of Delegations, At this moment I would like for us to speak about another pressing issue: the issue of debt, the question of the economic situation in Africa. It is an important condition of our survival, as much as peace. And this is why I have deemed it necessary to put several supplementary points on the table for us to discuss.

Mumia Abu-Jamal Has COVID-19

Internationally known U.S. political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal has reported to friends and family on the outside that he has contracted Covid-19 in the Pennsylvania prison where he is incarcerated, and says he is having difficulty breathing. His life is in immediate danger and he is in urgent need of hospital care. This latest outrage was sadly predictable. Prisons across the U.S. have for years been allowing serious illness to serve as a form of “silent execution” of prisoners, many of them certainly innocent of the crimes they were convicted of.  Many prisoners in the system, guilty or not, are serving unfairly punitive terms that keep them confined into an old age meaning they are particularly vulnerable to potentially fatal illnesses, whether that is flu, cancer, hepatitis, pneumonia or now Covid-19.

Biden’s First Strike

The United States carried out airstrikes in Syria early Friday morning, killing several people and destroying several buildings. The Pentagon says that the airstrikes were a response to a rocket attack that occurred on Feb. 15, some 10 days earlier, at Erbil airport in northern Iraq, some 400 km away. That rocket attack killed a Filipino contractor, wounded four American contractors, and wounded a U.S. soldier. It’s not clear whether the U.S. airstrikes targeted the group responsible for the rocket attack, or other groups affiliated with it. The Pentagon says “the strikes destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian backed militant groups including Kait’ib Hezbollah and Kait’ib Sayyid al Shuhada.”

‘Enough Is Enough’, Says Julian Assange’s Father

John Shipton has started an eight-city speaking tour — the Home Run 4 Julian tour — in defence of his son Julian Assange who is still languishing in Belmarsh Prison. The protest tour was launched on February 26 outside the State Library of Victoria. Shipton will travel through regional centres in New South Wales, Sydney and Canberra. Support for Assange has been growing rapidly since a British court determined earlier this year that he should not be extradited to the United States to face 17 espionage charges arising from the Collateral Murder video release of 2010. Shipton said he was pleased that this week Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese had added his voice to the calls for Assange’s freedom.

It’s Time To Make Large Corporations Pay Living Wages

Landing a job in the ’80s with a large corporation was, even for blue-collar workers, a ticket to good wages, generous benefits and a secure retirement. Women and workers of color did not share fully in this bounty, but they generally did better at big firms than small ones. All this began to unravel in the 1980s. Big business used the excuse of global competition to chip away at the living standards of the domestic workforce. Assault on unions, which were key in bringing about job improvements, proliferated. Meatpacking, for instance, what had been high wage and high-density union, turned into a bastion of precarious labor.

Honduras: Solidarity Needed As More Activists Are Killed

Two Indigenous activists were murdered in Honduras during December in less than a week, confirming the country as amongst the deadliest in the world for those opposing land grabs and environmental destruction. The killing of Tolupan Indigenous leader Adan Mejia took place three days after the murder of Lenca farmer leader Felix Vazquez. They join a death toll of over a hundred Indigenous people murdered in the past decade defending their lands against illegal exploitation through dams, mining, logging and agribusiness. An ongoing international campaign is also demanding answers from the Honduran authorities about the July 2020 kidnapping in the Caribbean coastal town of Tela, of four members of OFRANEH, the Afro-Indigenous Garifuna Peoples’ organisation of Honduras, by heavily armed gunmen wearing national police uniforms and badges.

How A Poor School Groundskeeper Took On Monsanto And Won

If a company hides information that suggests its top money-making product is unsafe, keeps adverse findings from regulators, employs ghostwriters to gin up favorable scientific studies and media coverage, funds front groups in an attempt to discredit critics, fails to provide warnings to consumers, and, according to jurors who reviewed a mountain of evidence, is responsible for serious illnesses and death, how would you hold the people responsible to account? If the company were Monsanto, you couldn’t. Monsanto — once one of the marquee corporate names in St. Louis — is now gone, gobbled up in 2018 for a whopping $63 billion. Bayer AG paid a premium and Monsanto shareholders made a bundle, just as lawsuits alleging a link between Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were beginning to heat up.

Ecuador’s Elections Are Being Undermined By Foreign And Domestic Interference

Before the votes were fully counted in Ecuador's latest elections, one candidate received a phone call from the US embassy assuring him that he would be in the second round. Fidel Narvaez, a Ecuadorian diplomat, tells Sputnik that this is only part of what appears to be a concerted effort to undermine the election results. Ecuador is due to have its second round of elections in April. Although the progressive candidate, Andrés Arauz, won by a large margin, he did not win by enough to avoid a runoff. However, the parliamentary results via the National Assembly are final, with the progressive candidates winning more seats than any other. The results of the presidential and parliamentary elections reflect an overall rejection of neo-liberalism by the Ecuadorian population at large.

I’m On Hunger Strike In Guantánamo

There are very few freedoms at Guantánamo Bay prison, where I have been held without charge or trial — referred to as Guantánamo ISN 1461 — for over 16 years. The right to starve myself is one of them, but even then, they force-feed me, to spare themselves the embarrassment of my death. Back in Pakistan, before I was kidnapped and tortured and flown halfway around the world in chains, I loved cooking. There is nothing more satisfying than preparing a hot meal for your family and sharing it with them. Here, I am allowed to cook for my fellow prisoners, but only in a microwave, and the guards could take even that away at any time. I never eat the food myself. I have been on hunger strike for seven years in protest at my indefinite detention.

Dr. Osterholm’s Warning: COVID Hurricane On The Horizon

Twelve months ago, Dr. Michael Osterholm was interviewed on the Joe Rogan Program. At the time, he warned that anywhere from 400,000 to 1.5 million Americans would die of COVID and that the pandemic would last for many years and significantly impact our lives. So far, his predictions have been eerily accurate. Today, Dr. Osterholm is warning that a “Category 5 COVID-hurricane” is on the horizon, with the B117/UK Variant posing the greatest threat. As positive cases and deaths decline, he warns that the media has been negligent in their overly positive reporting. Indeed, the scientific community is engaged in an important debate. On one side, we have scientists who believe enough Americans have been infected and, as a result, have developed enough immunity to avoid a serious surge.

‘Pipe Dream’: Enbridge Escalates Local Tensions

Palisade, Minnesota – Even in the bitter cold, the pretty little park along the Mississippi River is inviting, a typical gathering spot for community events with its broad trees and public pavilion. But Berglund Park stood empty recently as families and community members huddled around warming fires in an open field nearby, listening to music and eating Indian tacos as they learned about the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline cutting through their community. A group of pipeline opponents known as water protectors from the nearby Honor the Earth camp organized the small winter carnival to provide information about the impact of dependence on fossil fuels and a future built on renewable energy.

Hunger Strike, Activists Take Fight Against Scrapper To City Hall

Chicago - Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) announced Tuesday he will join 10 hunger strikers fighting to block another polluter from receiving the city’s approval to operate on the Southeast Side. As the Pilsen alderman joined the strike, United Neighbors of the 10th Ward member Breanna Bertacchi, Southeast Youth Alliance founder Oscar Sanchez and George Washington High School teacher Chuck Stark wrapped up their 20th day without food. They’ll complete their third week Wednesday. The three initial strikers and eight others who have joined the fast in recent weeks are demanding the Chicago Department of Public Health deny an operating permit to Southside Recycling, a metal scrapper planned for 11600 S. Burley Ave. in East Side.
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