By Barbara With and Rebecca Kemble for Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative. According to Angela Bibens, an attorney from Colorado and a member of the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC), the conditions of North Dakota’s legal system at present are making it impossible for fair trials to take place due to several factors. The Morton County Sheriff’s department made the decision to take a hard-line, militarized position in its response to the nonviolent activities of unarmed water protectors. This includes the use of water cannons, flash bang canisters, rubber bullets, and mace, which resulted in hundreds of water protectors being injured at the front lines. As of August 19, 2016, there were just 28 DAPL-related arrests. By mid-December, 500 more people have been arrested and charged. This was a crisis of their own making, which has cost the state over $17 million in law enforcement fees.
By West Papua Action Network. Indonesia came to absorb the region known as West Papua in 1969 following the withdrawal of the Dutch colonial administration. This occupation resulted in a protracted conflict over freedom and autonomy between the Indonesian government and the indigenous people of West Papua. For more than five decades, the West Papuans have organized many protests and ceremonies aimed at attaining self-determination or joining Papua New Guinea as part of a federation of independence states. This interview was conducted with Herman Wainggai, a leader of a nonviolent movement in West Papua to discuss their fight for self determination and prospects for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
By S. Brian Willson for Popular Resistance. As we again plan to celebrate what US “Americans” call Thanksgiving, let us pause for a moment of reflection. Let us recognize that accounts of the first Thanksgiving are mythological, and that the holiday is actually a grotesque celebration of our arrogant ethnocentrism built on genocide. Native Americans in the Caribbean greeted their 1492 European invaders with warm hospitality. They were so innocent that Genoan Cristoforo Colombo wrote in his log, They willingly traded everything they owned . . . They do not bear arms . . . They would make fine servants . . . They could easily be made Christians . . . With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want. This meeting set in motion a 500+-year plunder of the Western Hemisphere, which then spread to the remainder of the globe. And it has not stopped! Native Americans in the Caribbean greeted their 1492 European invaders with warm hospitality. They were so innocent that Genoan Cristoforo Colombo wrote in his log, They willingly traded everything they owned . . . They do not bear arms . . . They would make fine servants . . . They could easily be made Christians . . . With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want. This meeting set in motion a 500+-year plunder of the Western Hemisphere, which then spread to the remainder of the globe. And it has not stopped! Historian Hans Köning concludes that what sets the West apart is its persistence, its capacity to stop at nothing. Cultural historian Lewis Mumford declared, Wherever Western man went, slavery, land robbery, lawlessness, culture-wrecking, and the outright extermination of both wild beasts and tame men went with him.
Right now is the opportune time for people to say no to plutocracy and demand a people’s agenda. The rejection of the Democrats and the unexpected election of Donald Trump have caused confusion among the elites and have opened political space. The people’s defeat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a victory over the power of transnational corporations, confirms that when a movement of movements works together, we win. People across the country are rising up and will continue to do so. This is critical for social transformation. We encourage you to organize in your communities and to take the streets.We must also be clear in our demands. We are offering an outline for a People’s Agenda.
By Vicki Needham for the Hill. The Obama administration’s won’t pursue passage of its signature Pacific Rim trade deal, dealing a major blow to President Obama’s legacy. Any hope of passing the sweeping 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) quickly faded after Donald Trump’s surprise victory on Tuesday and pronouncements by congressional leaders that the pact would not be considered during the lame-duck session. Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton each opposed the agreement during their campaigns, endangering the already slim chances that Congress would cobble together enough support to pass the historic agreement before the end of Obama’s presidency. The long-shot trade agreement faced widespread Democratic opposition on Capitol Hill and the environment for passing the deal only grew more toxic during the presidential campaigns.
By Sam Levin for The Guardian – A United Nations group is investigating allegations of human rights abuses by North Dakota law enforcement against Native American protesters, with indigenous leaders testifying about “acts of war” they observed during mass arrests at an oil pipeline protest. A representative of the UN’s permanent forum on indigenous issues, an advisory group, has been collecting testimony from Dakota Access pipeline protesters who have raised concerns about excessive force, unlawful arrests and mistreatment in jail where some activists have been held in cages.
By Nathan Wellman for US Uncut. Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) has sent a team of human rights observers to monitor law enforcement response to those protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The decision to send the team came in response to reports of militarized police deploying pepper spray, bean bags, and strip searches, as well as a case where improperly trained mercenaries allowed guard dogs to bite multiple protesters. The protesters – who prefer to be referred to as water protectors – have so far emphasized the importance of peaceful protesting tactics. Members of the media have also been arrested for covering the confrontations. “Our observers are here to ensure that everyone’s human rights are protected,” said Eric Ferrero, director of communications for AIUSA.
By KiMi Robinson for Truthdig. The Democratic Republic of Congo is paying the price for being the world’s largest producer of raw cobalt, a vital ingredient in lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, smartphones, laptops and other rechargeable devices. As Congolese search for the valuable mineral—cobalt is the most expensive part of lithium-ion batteries—they are suffering a surge in child labor, poverty, pollution and rare birth defects. An investigation by The Washington Post unravels the complicated cobalt supply chain from mines in Congo to the world’s largest cobalt producers in China to the products that dominate Americans’ everyday lives. Reporter Todd Frankel found that companies such as Samsung, BMW and Apple buy batteries containing cobalt mined in Congo but declare that their products are free from materials related to human rights abuse.
By Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini for AL Jazeera – Just a few weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that he cares about the rights and lives of Palestinians in Gaza more than the Palestinian leadership does, he posted a new video message on his Facebook wall, arguing that any future dismantlement of Jewish settlements in the West Bank would amount to “ethnic cleansing.” He went on to intimate that insofar as the U.S. and other western countries support the uprooting of Israeli settlements as part of an agreement with the Palestinians, they were, in effect, supporting the cleansing of Jews.
By Thaddeus Talbot for ACLU – The U.N.’s special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association completed a 17-day mission to the United States this week, and he drew some concerning conclusions about the state of those rights in this country. Maini Kiai covered an impressive 10 cities in 17 days. He observed protests at the political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia and visited cities rocked by the police killings of Black men, like Baton Rouge, Baltimore, and Ferguson.
By Jonathan Cook for Al Jazeera. Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, awarded itself a draconian new power last week: A three-quarters majority of its members can now expel an elected politician if they do not like his or her views. According to Adalah, a law centre representing the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian citizens, the so-called expulsion law has no parallel in any democratic state. The group noted that it was the latest in a series of laws designed to strictly circumscribe the rights of Israel’s Palestinian minority and curb dissent. Others fear that the measure is designed to empty the Knesset of its Palestinian parties. “This law violates all rules of democracy and the principle that minorities should be represented,” Mohammed Zeidan, director of the Human Rights Association in Nazareth.
By Myrna Santiago for The Stansbury Forum – Not all violence is equal. The difference matters. A civilian killing another civilian is a crime. A member of the police killing a civilian is an entirely different question, legally and morally. The police and other similarly armed bodies are direct representatives of the power of the state. Their duties and obligations toward civilians are qualitatively different from those of civilians. So are their actions, especially the violent ones. The armed forces of the state (police, FBI, SWAT team, National Guard, on-duty member of the armed forces, and the rest) are legally (and morally) obligated to protect the people of the country. That is their sworn duty: to protect the civilian population.
By Claire Bernish for The Anti Media – (ANTIMEDIA) In what could hardly be called a surprise, the UN Human Rights Council chastised the US over its epidemic of police violence, discrimination, needless killings, and general neglect, following through with recommendations made in its first review in 2010. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) takes place every four years to scrutinize the human and civil rights practices of each of the UN’s 193 member nations. Delegates from 117 countries took the opportunity to lambaste the US’ record of civil rights violations exacted by its brutal and racist police forces.