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Accountability

Chicago: Election Season Begins For Police Accountability Councils

Chicago, IL - Chicago saw two developments this past week in the struggle for democratic control of the police by the Black and Latino communities in Chicago. First, after a long delay, Mayor Lori Lightfoot appointed the interim Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA). This was created out of the passage of historic legislation in 2021, Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS), the most democratic legislation for police accountability in the country. Second, election season began on August 30, when candidates for municipal office can start circulating petitions to get on the ballot in February 2023. The February ballot will include first-in-the-country police district council elections.

The Chris Hedges Report: John Kiriakou, We Don’t Need The CIA

The CIA, from its inception, carried out assassinations, coups, torture, and illegal spying and abuse, including of US citizens, many of which were exposed in 1975 by the Church Committee in the Senate and the Pike Committee in the House. Congress attempted to enact laws to curb the widespread criminal activity by the CIA. Senate and House intelligence oversight committees were created, and after the Iran-Contra scandal a statutory Inspector General at the CIA was appointed. But this oversight has largely collapsed following the attacks of 9/11 and the so-called war on terror. The activities of the CIA have once again reverted to the shadows. The CIA, at the same time, has transformed itself into a paramilitary organization, with its own armed units and drone program.

US Clears Israel Of Intentionally Killing Shireen Abu Akleh

On the day that the US celebrates its so-called independence on colonized land, Washington signed off on Israel’s clearing itself of direct responsibility for the killing of prominent Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. A statement attributed to Ned Price, spokesperson for the US State Department, said that American officials “could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet that killed” Abu Akleh because it was too badly damaged. Price’s statement added that US officials “concluded that gunfire from IDF [Israeli military] positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.”

Johnson & Johnson Seeking To Avoid Thousands Of Lawsuits

The ‘Texas Two-Step’ is the name given to a highly controversial legal strategy that some of the biggest companies are now using to shield their assets from accountability.  It allows massively wealthy corporations whose products caused harm to avoid paying damages to the victims of that harm and it denies the victims their right to make their case in court and be judged by a jury of their peers.  Earlier this year, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee highlighted the story of Kimberly Naranjo, a mesothelioma victim who testified about Johnson & Johnson’s actions.  Naranjo has been denied her right to hold Johnson & Johnson accountable in court. “There’s a justice system for rich people and powerful corporations – and there’s the system for everyone else,” said Durbin.

US Groups Demand Full Probe After Israeli Forces Kill Shireen Abu Akleh

Human rights advocates on Wednesday called for a thorough and transparent investigation after Al Jazeera and witnesses said Israeli forces shot and killed one of the network's reporters while she was at work. Shireen Abu Akleh, a well-known 51-year-old Palestinian-American correspondent, was wearing a helmet and press jacket that clearly identified her as a journalist when Israeli forces shot her in the face as she covered an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the illegally occupied West Bank of Palestine. Another Palestinian journalist, Ali al-Samoudi, was shot in the back but is reportedly in stable condition. While Israeli officials falsely claimed Palestinian militants shot Abu Akleh, Al Jazeera condemned her killing as "blatant murder."

Execution In Grand Rapids Illustrates Failure To End Police Terrorism

Over two weeks after Patrick Lyoya, 26, was stopped, chased, tackled and shot in the back of the head by a Grand Rapids patrolman, killing him instantly, there still has not been any punitive action taken against the white officer responsible for the death of the Congolese immigrant. The City of Grand Rapids has refused to even release the name of the officer since he has not yet been charged with a crime. This incident in a major midwestern municipality clearly illustrates the systematic refusal by the local, state and federal government agencies to address the ongoing deaths at the hands of the police. Two years since the brutal shooting deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many others, the relevant authorities responsible for the funding and oversight of law-enforcement have refused to take any action to reform the operational culture of the police.

Report Reveals How The Dakota Access Pipeline Is Breaking The Law

The federal government and the Dakota Access Pipeline’s parent company, Energy Transfer, misled the public, used substandard science, utilized poor technology, and broke the law by not cooperating with impacted Indigenous Nations. That’s according to a new report that also criticizes the Army Corp of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency for not completing a realistic analysis of the environmental damage the pipeline could cause. The report, written by NDN Collective, an Indigenous nonprofit, provides the first comprehensive timeline of the controversial pipeline’s legal and environmental violations. Working with a team of engineers, the report’s authors included new information about oil quality, spills, leakage, and faulty infrastructure that NDN Collective says could be pivotal in the ongoing battle to stop the pipeline.

An Insider Perspective In The Black Lives Matter Global Network Sham

On January 31, 2022, New York magazine published an article by Sean Campbell, “The BLM Mystery: Where did the money go?” A core demand of the article is one that many have made for many years: Show me the money! People have questions. I have a lot of answers. I am a former, and still supportive organizer in a legacy chapter (my own term) of Black Lives Matter - BLM Philly. I represented the chapter in the national network - the place that BLM Global Foundation in its several formations curated. Up until my separation from the chapter in late 2021, BLMGN was the owner/manager/user of the primary website BlackLivesMatter.com, along with the social media and the newsletter.

The Baltimore Sun Publicly Acknowledges Its Racist Past

Being a respected news outlet comes with much responsibility, especially one that heavily covers race relations — take it from us! One of the longest-running publications that also happens to serve a predominately Black audience is the Baltimore Sun, and it recently drew public attention to a past history of racism that’s gone ignored for the newspaper’s entire 185 years in print. That is, until now. Lifting the paywall that usually requires readers to subscribe to read online articles, the Baltimore Sun editorial board released a lengthy apology in article form last week to call out its own legacy rooted in its founder, Arunah S. Abell. Here’s an excerpt from the opening paragraph of the Baltimore Sun‘s explanation below.

Nicaragua Condemns New Interference Attempt By OAS

The Nicaraguan delegation to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) firmly and categorically denounced, on Friday, February 18, the OAS’ notification for scheduling a special session of its member states to address “the situation in Nicaragua.” Previously, the OAS had issued a declaration condemning alleged lack of legal guarantees in Nicaragua and what it considered as human rights violations perpetrated by the government of Nicaragua. Such declarations of the OAS referred to the judicial procedures being carried out in Nicaragua against some of the promoters of the violent 2018 coup attempt that was backed and financed by the United States. “We want to make it very clear that we will not be an issue on Washington’s ideological agenda, we are not a political experiment, we are not anyone’s backyard, nor are we part of the Ministry of Colonies,” the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) government declared in its statement.

What Are The Lessons From The Trump-Backed Insurrection Of January 6?

A year ago today, a fascist mob took over the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C., stunning the country and the entire world. Called to action by Donald Trump and instigated by his false accusation that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, the mob stormed the building and briefly stopped the certification of the electoral college votes. The attack would not have been possible without collusion from high-level military, police and security officials. Yet, none of them have been brought to justice. At the same time, Congress formed a special committee on January 6th which has no legal authority to persecute the people responsible for it. The insurrection was a historic attack on one of the most fundamental tenets of US democracy – the peaceful transition of power between the two ruling class parties.

Building Collective Power Within Our Organizations

As we imagine an alternative society, we should think about how we will create something more collective, something where all people have a voice. Most of us come from a tradition where a select few make large impactful decisions for social justice organizations. Organizations have practices that at times feel inadequate and inaccessible for all. How do we move more towards a democratic collective process? These questions come to mind as many movement organizations are wrestling with creating collective democratic power internally. How can processes be more transparent in the organization—and how do we balance that with some need for confidentiality? How do we balance legal obligations/liabilities and honesty?

US Navy Families In Hawai’i Find Fuel In Their Home Tap Water

The long citizen protest underscoring the dangers from the U.S. Navy’s 80-year-old leaking 20 jet fuel tanks at Red Hill each tank 20 stories tall and holding a total of 225 million gallons of jet fuel came to a head over the weekend with Navy families around the large Pearl Harbor Naval Base being sickened by fuel in their home tap water.  The Navy’s huge jet fuel tank complex is only 100 feet above Honolulu’s water supply and has been leaking with regularity. The Navy command was slow to alert the community while the State of Hawai’i quickly issued a notice not to drink the water.  Foster Village community members stated that they were  smelling fuel after the November 20, 2021 release of 14,000 gallons of water and fuel from a fire suppression drain line a quarter-mile downhill from the fuel tank farm. 

Why There Are So Few Whistleblowers

Adam Schiff’s new book, “Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could,” makes a strong case for the importance of whistleblowing, particularly in these fractured times.  Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, argues that his committee is “uniquely dependent on whistleblowers” because of the “classified nature” of its work. Without whistleblowers, the congressional intelligence committees would  be “almost completely reliant on the intelligence agencies to self-report,” according to Schiff.  A whistleblower in the intelligence community cannot go to the press, so they must have “access to Congress” or the “whole system fails.”

Bolivia Remains Relentless Against Coup Plotters

October 20 Bolivia will mark two years since what became the preamble to a violent and bloody coup d’état against former president Evo Morales (2006-2019). On that day, as the people went to the polls to re-elect the indigenous leader, the most extremist fringes of the country’s right-wing began maneuvering from behind the scenes to overthrow the government. The story of what happened after Election Day is well known. The Organization of American States (OAS) insisted that Morales’ new victory was the result of widespread electoral fraud -although it had no evidence-, thus paving the way for the opposition to take over the Palacio Quemado, the government headquarters.
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