The unexpected decision by Judge Vanessa Baraitser to deny a US demand to extradite Julian Assange, foiling efforts to send him to a US super-max jail for the rest of his life, is a welcome legal victory, but one swamped by larger lessons that should disturb us deeply. Those who campaigned so vigorously to keep Assange’s case in the spotlight, even as the US and UK corporate media worked so strenuously to keep it in darkness, are the heroes of the day. They made the price too steep for Baraitser or the British establishment to agree to lock Assange away indefinitely in the US for exposing its war crimes and its crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan. But we must not downplay the price being demanded of us for this victory.
Throughout history, there has been tension between those who desire obedience to authority and those who question authority. It is those who question authority that contribute to social change, but our culture does not treat them well. We speak with psychologist Bruce E. Levine about his latest book, "Resisting Illegitimate Authority: A Thinking Person's Guide to being an Anti-Authoritarian - Strategies, Tools and Models" and the lessons it teaches for the political moment in which we find ourselves, how anti-authoritarianism is being suppressed and what we must do.
By Hans Von Sponeck, Denis Halliday and Richard Falk for New Statesmen - US President Donald Trump is ardently embracing a toxic form of messianic nationalism, while demeaning those who oppose him as corrupt, and dishonest enemies. His "America First" chant is creating severe international tension, promoting extremism - within and outside the US - and undermining the homeland security that he has so insistently pledged to enhance. Trump seems determined to implement policies and practices that could signal the weakening of democracy, and possibly even herald the onset of fascism. His programme to deport undocumented immigrants and to exclude all visitors from six designated Muslim majority countries is illustrative of a regressive and Islamophobic outlook. The groundswell of popular dissent is vibrant and worldwide, from Romania to South Korea, Gambia to Brazil, from the UK to the Ukraine. Trump is dangerously exploiting the frustration of citizens with the political establishment, which is unprecedented in its depth and breadth. The umbilical cord that connects those governing with those governed is becoming dangerously stressed.
By Bethany Woolman, ACLU of Northern California. Fifty-five years ago this January, the ACLU of Northern California was busy filling orders from across the country for copies of its recently produced film, “Operation Correction.” The film was a response to a piece of Red Scare propaganda, “Operation Abolition,” which was produced by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and depicted civil liberties activists in San Francisco as violent “communist agents” bent on destroying the fabric of America. In those days, the federal government was deeply concerned with the political affiliations of ordinary Americans — if those affiliations were left-leaning. My own grandfather, who was a World War II veteran and affiliated with the Communist Party in San Francisco, was under FBI surveillance.
By Staff of FAIR - AlterNet‘s Sarah Lazare (12/6/16) quotes Jim Naureckas on a call for an FBI crackdown on protesters appearing in the New York Observer (12/2/16), the paper owned by Trump son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner: Jim Naureckas, editor of Extra!, the media watchdog magazine of Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, told AlterNet that [Austin] Bay’s op-ed is one of the most disturbing things he has seen since the election. “To have the incoming ruler’s son-in-law using his paper to call for the federal police to investigate protests against the ruler, that is pretty far gone,” he said. “It struck me as a ‘first they came for the communists’ moment.”
By Andrew Fishman for The Intercept - LEAKED SECRET AUDIO recordings of Brazil’s most powerful figures have sparked a series of explosive scandals in the nation’s ongoing political crisis. Now, Brazilian lawmakers are trying to outlaw publication of such recordings. A bill, which has been idling since last year in the Câmara dos Deputados, Brazil’s lower house of Congress, has picked up new steam this month.
By Staff of Occupy - This week, the climate crisis IS a reproductive crisis. The founders of Conceivable Future talk to us about the intersectionality of parenthood and climate change. Next up, the Drug War has wreaked decades of havoc in our country – but what about Latin America? School of the Americas Watch and the Peace, Life & Justice Caravan hi-light this southern path of destruction and invite you to join in the fight against both the drug war and the violent US-backed crusades in South America, Central America and Mexico. Finally, let's get cozy and dissent. But first, I'd need less money if I had some more...
By Julian Bond, As King counseled, every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we all must protest. And protest we did. And in so doing, we helped to end the war, and we changed history. Now we have both a Vietnam Memorial and a Martin Luther King Memorial. But we don’t tell the truth about either. Honoring returning soldiers doesn’t make the war honorable, be it Vietnam or Afghanistan or Iraq. And the best way to honor our soldiers is to bring them safely home. We practiced dissent then. We must practice dissent now. We must, as Dr. King taught us, "move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history." As King said then, and as even more true now. . .
In an effort to breathe new life into the somewhat dwindling anti-austerity movement, nearly 100 students have set up a makeshift campsite outside a Montreal CÉGEP school. In Quebec, protests against the provincial Liberal government's austerity measures have been becoming smaller yet increasingly creative, with events like a non-mixed feminist march, the UQAM occupation—which led to violent mayhem and the arrest of more than a dozen students—and a "die-in" in opposition to health-care cuts that would threaten access to abortion. But CÉGEP de Saint Laurent students—most between 16 and 20 years old—claim these methods are no longer cutting it, and have opted to build a more "permanent" symbol of their dissent. As of Thursday, more than 60 tents lined the school grounds.
“Good people don’t hide; bad people have to hide because they are planning evil things like trying to bomb this auditorium,” said Glenn Greenwald during a presentation at Carnegie Hall in New York City earlier this week. He explained that he took that line from former CIA director Michael Hayden, who kept on repeating that warning during a debate in Toronto a couple months ago.” In that debate, Greenwald took on two grumpy old men, one who looked like Eric Forman’s father from That ‘70s Show and the other who claimed to be a liberal democrat who believes that we can have enough surveillance that is consistent with liberty. Needless to say, Greenwald destroyed them both with his secret weapon: the NSA’s own files, which he received from Edward Snowden in what has become one of the greatest government leaks in history. Truth be told, I didn’t really know or care much about Glenn Greenwald until I heard Facebook rumors that Bolivian president Evo Morales’s plane had been stopped and frisked in Austria. From there, I began to read about him, including about his reaction to the nine-hour detention and questioning of his partner in the London airport.
This explanation is all the more credible given the exploitation of terrorism charges by both the U.S. and UK governments throughout the post-9/11 era. There has been a consistent attempt by government authorities to stifle political activism among those criticizing civil rights abuses as well as foreign military expansionism. Predominantly, the brunt of this suppression has focused on Muslim minority communities in the West. The No Separate Justice campaign, along with the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, have documented numerous cases of Muslim political activists who have been arrested and detained for their public criticisms of the conduct of the War on Terror — usually under the guise of highly-tendentious terrorism charges. Individuals such as Tarek Mehanna, Fahad Hashmi, Jubair Ahmad, Emerson Winfield Begolly, and others have come to the attention of authorities for their highly public expressions of dissent, charged with terrorism, and then handed long prison sentences under extreme circumstances of incarceration rivaling those at Guantanamo.