Washington — The list of governments, former government officials, and organizations in the region that have accused the US of supporting ISIS-K is expansive and includes the Russian government, the Iranian government, Syrian government media, Hezbollah, an Iraqi state-sponsored military outfit and even former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who called the group a “tool” of the United States as journalist Ben Norton recently noted, characterizing Karzai as “a former US puppet who later turned against the US, and knows many of its secrets.” So what exactly is ISIS-K and what is it’s history? After ISIS’s Afghanistan variant became a household name overnight following a suicide bombing at Kabul’s airport that killed more than 170 people and wounded more than 200, the group’s history demands renewed scrutiny.
We, the undersigned, come from the trenches in the fight against fossil fuels. From fracking sites and oil wells, to pipelines and refineries, to plastic plants and more, we are impacted Indigenous, Brown, Black, and low-income communities living on the frontlines of this climate emergency. Over the years we have written thousands of messages to politicians, attended countless hearings, testified hundreds of times, and have placed our bodies on the line when needed, all the while our government continues to ignore the science and Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge and steers us toward climate catastrophe. We have everything to lose and no time to wait. President Biden promised to address the climate emergency and a history of environmental injustice, but so far, his administration continues to allow the fossil fuel industry to poison our communities and desolate our Mother Earth.
We know the U.S. labor movement is too small. Our current union density, or membership rate, is very low, about 11% of the workforce, with only around 6% in the private sector, and it’s been falling nearly every year for decades. To put this crisis in perspective, the union membership rate hasn’t been this low in more than a century. Wages, benefits and working conditions for many workers are not improving, and in some ways have gotten worse in recent decades. Furthermore, union membership is concentrated in too few states. Over half of the 14.3 million union members live in just seven states. And in many southern states, the union membership rate is less than 5%. That means there are too many elected officials that have no fear of voting against union and workers’ interests.
A few days ago I had the honor of participating in a meeting of historical combatants of the Southern Front, in a community in the department of Rivas. There is so much to tell that the words fail me and my heart trembles. But really, slipping through the crowd at a meeting of historical fighters anywhere in Nicaragua, one makes a deep journey into the open veins of the people of Nicaragua and Our America. Because in Nicaragua even under the stones you find history, heroism, conviction and faith that the world can be a better place and that it is possible to change society with the strength of everyone. But it is not just faith, it is concrete experiences of struggle for life and genuine peace. The heat was exhausting and the field was covered with an intense green.
On August 11th, after months of management’s union-busting and stalling, New York Times tech workers staged the tech industry’s first ever walkout over unfair labor practices. Among the over 300 workers taking part was Kathy Zhang, a senior manager of newsroom and product analytics at the New York Times, who echoed hundreds of years of militant worker organizers when she explained the simple yet monumental rights at stake: “we want better working conditions and we want to be able to advocate for those conditions together.” The future of organizing in the tech sector is dependent in large part on what happens here in the next few months. Because the tech industry sits at the nexus of commerce, mass media, finance, entertainment, and nearly all modern forms of communication, a strong labor movement in that sector could result in workers having power over some of the most consequential decision-making of our time.
Following the Taliban’s seizure of power, people across the political spectrum have expressed concern about the fate of Afghans who helped the United States and are therefore at risk of retribution. (This concern is not universal: We are also seeing a rise in far-right, anti-Afghan refugee sentiment.) Pundits and politicians who gave little attention to civilian deaths in Afghanistan during 20 years of U.S. occupation are joining in this outpouring — a dynamic that is building pressure for the Biden administration to extend the U.S. military presence. The Biden administration has stopped evacuating Afghans by air, citing the bombings on the airport, but continues to airlift Americans from the country as the August 31 deadline approaches. Biden claims evacuations of Afghan allies will resume post-withdrawal.
In the 21st century, many of us are used to the murderous mass violence of modern warfare. After all, we grew up living it or hearing about it. The 20th century rates as the deadliest in human history — 75 million people died in World War II alone. Millions have died since, including a quarter-million during the 20-year U.S. war in Afghanistan. But for our forebears, the incredible deadliness of modern warfare came as a shock. The carnage of World War I — with its 40 million dead — left people scrambling to prevent another horror. In 1928, the world’s top nations even signed an agreement renouncing war as an instrument of national policy. Still, by the mid-1930s the world was swimming in weapons, and people wanted to know why.
The chokehold on Lebanon has grown even tighter, thanks to the embargo imposed against it by the United States and its Arab allies in the Persian Gulf. This comes at the lowest point of Lebanon’s two-year-old economic crisis, a catastrophe the World Bank calls the worst the world has seen since 1850. The country’s sudden-but-deliberate fuel shortage, vital to essential daily activity and life-saving medical services, has accelerated this alarm. Today, bread is in shortage and hospitals are sending out distress calls, civilians are camping in front of petrol stations, and water has all but disappeared from supermarket shelves. With general government inaction and the failure of Lebanon’s political parties to form a new government, Hezbollah has forged ahead with its plan to import fuel from Iran.
Last month in Honolulu, Hawaii, Microensian President David Panuelo held high-level defense talks with US Navy Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) about “the United States’ broader defense and force posture in the Pacific,” among other topics. “The FSM and the United States collaborated on plans for more frequent and permanent US Armed Forces presence, and have agreed to cooperate on how that presence will be built up both temporarily and permanently within the FSM, with the purpose of serving the mutual security interests of both nations,” a news release by the Micronesian government noted. The release gave no further details about where the base would be located or what type of facility it would be. Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation after the summit, Panuelo said that while the small country of 58,000 people maintains diplomatic relations with China, he didn’t foresee the new US base as harming that relationship.
There is a growing chorus in favour of carbon capture and storage technologies (CCS) by fossil fuel firms and governments. In brief, CCS technologies capture emissions from fossil fuel extraction and production. The captured emissions are buried in no longer economically viable oil or gas wells to render them productive once more over a longer period of time. For spent oil wells, this is known as enhanced oil recovery (EOR). One of the reasons many of the oil and gas majors are on the bandwagon for a price on carbon is because they believe that a high carbon price would render CCS “economically viable,” provided CCS is accompanied by outrageous government subsidies. Considering CCS removal of carbon comes to about US$120/U.S. ton, a high carbon price would allow the industry to pursue business-as-usual, while concurrently appearing to be committed to a green economy.
Drones are being used as weapons of terror and oppression throughout the world. Not only do they make it possible for the United States to colonize and occupy other countries, but police departments in the US have access to surveillance and weaponized drones to target civilians. As the technology evolves, drones have the potential to lead to greater wars, including a war between major powers. To prevent this dystopian future, anti-drone activists are organizing an international campaign to ban drones. Clearing the FOG speaks with Nick Mottern, one of the founders of the Ban Killer Drones campaign, about the impact of drones on communities and the work to end them.
Minneapolis, MN - On Thursday, August 26, window cleaners in Minneapolis reached a tentative agreement with their employers and ended their open-ended strike after ten days on the picket lines. The window cleaners - who are part of a master-contract that includes three companies (Columbia Building Services, Final Touch Commercial Cleaning and Apex North) - won major improvements in their new contract after holding strong on the picket lines and organizing several large rallies and actions in the Minneapolis area over the course of the strike. In the new contract deal, some of the wins include 12% wage increases across the board over the duration of the contract, increased sick days, increased disability pay, and funding from the companies to be used to start a window cleaner apprenticeship safety and training program.
The Carthaginian general Hannibal, who came close to defeating the Roman Republic in the Second Punic War, committed suicide in 181 BC in exile as Roman soldiers closed in on his residence in the Bithynian village of Libyssa, now modern-day Turkey. It had been more than thirty years since he led his army across the alps and annihilated Roman legions at the Battle of Trebia, Lake Trasimene and Cannae, considered one of the most brilliant tactical victories in warfare which centuries later inspired the plans of the German Army Command in World War I when they invaded Belgium and France. Rome was only able to finally save itself from defeat by replicating Hannibal’s military tactics.
Lawmakers and criminal justice advocates in Massachusetts are calling for changes to the laws that govern how law enforcement seizes, and keeps, cash and property confiscated in suspected drug crimes. The push follows a WBUR and ProPublica investigation that found a top prosecutor stockpiling people’s money for years, even when they weren’t charged with a drug offense or their cases were dismissed.
In 1974, former Black Panther Darcus Howe became editor of Race Today, transforming it from a formal academic journal, run by the institute of Race Relations, into a campaigning collective whose activities extended far beyond journalism. Race Today morphed into the Race Today Collective, forging a holistic approach to activism that weaponised journalism as a powerful campaigning tool. This symbiosis, coupled with the Collective’s consistently global and intersectional outlook, pioneered a new form of anti-racist campaigning as well as a new era of radical journalism, reaching a pinnacle in 1981 with the Black People’s Day of Action. Darcus Howe’s Race Today emerged directly out of the British Black Power movement. Members of the Collective Farrukh Dhondy, Leila Hassan, Mala Sen, and Jean Ambrose had all been part of Black Power groups, from the Black Panther Party to the Black Unity and Freedom Party.