By Eleanor Goldfield for Act Out! Kingdom of the Unjust; a sit down with activist & author Medea Benjamin about her latest book and how US/Saudi ties perpetuate human rights violations. Saudi Arabia was left off Trump’s Muslim Ban despite the fact that they regularly invest in terrorist organizations, despite being home to 15 of the 9/11 hijackers and indeed despite being the founders of Wahabbism, the perversion of Islam that both ISIS and Al Qaeda follow. So, what gives? In her book and our conversation, Medea Benjamin discusses the inner workings of the Kingdom – from the grotesque treatment of women and immigrant workers to the extremist brand of Islam that perpetuates hate and war in the region. She also outlines our ties to the country, going back to an agreement made over black gold and military protection in the 1940s. In the present day, our ties continue to hold, despite the fact that we only receive 13% of our oil from Saudi Arabia. In lieu of that, we get monstrous military contracts that bolster our war machine, our 1% and their human rights violating wars like the current one in Yemen.
By Karen Savage for Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — For a few seconds on July 10, the ear-splitting police noisemaker — referred to as an LRAD — and the chants demanding justice for Alton Sterling awkwardly paused at exactly the same moment. I closed my eyes in relief. As if on cue, a lone cicada cried out from the tree above, the insect’s call piercing the air, but not the tension. With my eyes closed and the cicada’s solo still echoing through the sweltering heat of a Sunday afternoon in Baton Rouge, I saw neat bungalows, crape myrtles and longleaf pine trees. I imagined a crawfish boil, kids on bikes, grandmothers with church hats. But when I opened my eyes, we were still surrounded on three sides by an army of militarized police. Officers still gripped automatic weapons, still wore gas masks and bulletproof vests, still held tear gas cylinders ready to be fired.
BY Julia Edwards for Reuters – The White House will revisit a 2015 ban on police forces getting riot gear, armored vehicles and other military-grade equipment from the U.S. armed forces, two police organization directors told Reuters on Thursday. Shortly after the recent shooting deaths of police officers, President Barack Obama agreed to review each banned item, the two law enforcement leaders said. That could result in changes to the ban imposed in May 2015 on the transfer of some equipment from the military to police…
By Staff for the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. There are three major defining factors of this moment: white rage and misogyny escalated by the presidential elections; extractive dig-burn-dump economies promoted by politicians; and rising militarism at home & abroad applauded by the electorate. We believe that no matter who becomes the next US president, these growing norms will have serious long-term implications for Black, Latin@, Arab and Muslim peoples, Indigenous Peoples, Asian & Pacific Islander, working class White folks, women and trans people… long after the next president is elected. We are building a diverse and interconnected movement that has the roots we need to weather the storms our communities face and change the systems that cause us harm. This July 2016, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) is organizing a People’s Caravan from Cleveland to Philadelphia of 40-50 frontline community leaders from the US and Honduras.
By Medea Benjamin and Alice Slater for the Hill. Donald Trump angered the D.C. establishment when he said that NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, may be obsolete and the U.S. should reassess its spending on the alliance. Hillary Clinton has used Trump’s comments as another example that he is a dangerous, loose cannon. But Trump has brought up an issue worth exploring and this month, when NATO will hold its Annual Summit in Warsaw, Poland on July 8-9, is an excellent opportunity to do so. Indeed, activists are planning to show up on in Warsaw during the Summit and in New York City there will be a demonstration on July 9 in Times Square. The time has come to spread the word about the dangerous mischief NATO is causing on Russia’s border. With the recent breakup of the old paradigm after the UK just left the European Union, there may be a new opening for change. It has been reported that Germany and France have been talking about ending the sanctions on Russia imposed after the Ukraine events and are now recommending a less aggressive posture for NATO. America too, could do its share to make good on the UN promise to “end the scourge of war” by ratcheting down the hostilities towards Russia and working for the abolition of NATO. You don’t have to be a Donald Trump supporter to recognize that it is time to rethink NATO.
By John James Conyers, Jr., Keith Ellison, Hank Johnson, Marcy Kaptur, Jan Schakowsky and Jose E Serrano for the Guardian. Until the Honduran government protects human rights and holds its security forces responsible for their crimes, the US should not be working with its police and military. As long as the United States funds Honduran security forces without demanding justice for those threatened, tortured and killed, the US has blood on its hands. It’s time to suspend all police and military aid to Honduras. Enough is enough – it’s past time to suspend the aid and instruct the US Treasury department to vote no on all loans from multilateral development banks to security forces in Honduras. The Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (HR 5474) would suspend those funds – and prohibit international loans providing for security assistance – from being dispersed unless Honduras makes serious inroads to addressing blatant human rights violations by police and military forces.
By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams – Thousands of anti-war protesters rallied outside the parliament building in Tokyo on Tuesday, railing against the Japanese government’s new so-called security law which marks a historic departure from the country’s decades-long pacifism. The controversial “war legislation,” a package of bills that passed parliament in September and took effect on Tuesday, reinterprets Article 9 of the country’s Constitution, which renounced war as a means to settle international disputes following World War II.
By Robert Koehler for The Huffington Post – We talk about “the Pentagon” as though it were a rational entity, hierarchically in control of what it does, dispensable as needed to trouble spots around the world: a tool of America’s commander in chief and, therefore, of the American people. The reality, undiscussed on the evening news or the presidential debates, is something a little different. The American military is an unceasing hemorrhage of cash and aggression, committed — perhaps only at the unconscious level — to nothing more than its own perpetuation, which is to say, endless war.
By Fran Quigley for Popular Resistance. Jessica Reznicek, 34, an Iowa peace activist, was arraigned Monday and charged with two felonies for breaking three windows with a sledgehammer at the Northrup Grumman facility outside the Omaha Nebraska Strategic Air Command at Offut Air Force base. Writing from her jail cell, Reznicek, who has lived and worked at the Des Moines Catholic Worker for years, said she broke the windows as an act of conscience “in an effort to expose the details of the defense contracts currently held by Northrup Grumman with U.S. Strategic Air Command (STRATCOM) at Offutt Air Force Base. Over the years, billions of taxpayer dollars are pouring into the hands of these money-hungry, bomb-building, and computer geek space war criminals.” Jessica is facing up to 20 years. Her trial is schedule for May 24th. She is currently incarcerated, refusing to pay bond.
By Robert J. Burrowes for Popular Resistance. ‘The Secure and the Dispossessed: How the Military and Corporations are Shaping a Climate-Changed World’ brings together a thoughtful collection of scholars, journalists and activists to explain the pre-eminence of the military and corporations in shaping the global response to the climate catastrophe as an ‘opportunity’. The book examines how for the security/military-industrial complex ‘climate change is just the latest in a long line of threats constructed in such a way as to consolidate its grip on power and public finance.’ For corporations, the risk posed by climate change is an opportunity for profit as they promise us ‘food security’, ‘water security’, ‘energy security’ … even if it is at the expense of equity and justice and has ‘disastrous implications for the security of human lives and dignity’. For the security industry, for example, it is an opportunity to offer governments an endless supply of resilience and disaster-related services that have little to do with human security, if your concern is ordinary people.
By Henoko Nonviolet Action. How amazingly a Nonviolent struggle in Henoko has been a success to close 2 days a week. People started to pile the concrete blocks in front of the gate for stopping the construction vehicles. How amazingly a Nonviolent struggle in Henoko has been a success to close 2 days a week. People started to pile the concrete blocks in front of the gate for stopping the construction vehicles. Henoko Block Protest 2 A friend from US arrived yesterday to join the Henoko sit-in. We appreciate people from outside of Japan come and join this struggle. We hope that more & more foreign friends come and join us. How amazingly a Nonviolent struggle in Henoko has been a success to close 2 days a week. People started to pile the concrete blocks in front of the gate for stopping the construction vehicles. Henoko Block Protest 2 A friend from US arrived yesterday to join the Henoko sit-in. We appreciate people from outside of Japan come and join this struggle. We hope that more & more foreign friends come and join us. Henoko Block Protest 3 Finally, Henoko is becoming an artistic. We started to paint on concrete blocks. Please come & paint a block for peace.
By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. This Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend there was a call by #BlackLivesMatter to #ReclaimMLK. Events were held all over the country responding to the call and the radical Martin Luther King, jr was brought to people’s hearts; not only the King who expressed his dream on racism, but the King who questioned the unfairness in the US capitalist economy and the long history of a foreign policy dominated by militarism. At the end of his life not only was he speaking clearly on these issues but he was organizing around poverty, planning a Poor People’s March to Washington, DC. This march continued after his death and Resurrection City, an earlier occupation of the city, that focused on poverty and economic issues. The election year of 2016 is an opportunity to push forward a Black Agenda, not by supporting any particular candidate but by pushing all candidates. We must push to make up for the disinvestment and racially unfair treatment of black communities.
By Nancy Price, for the Alliance for Democracy. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most revolutionary 1967 speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” marked his movement, from civil rights to a critique of capitalism, a year before he died. Looking “beyond Vietnam,” King questioned a US policy of interventions in foreign countries to defeat not only “Communist tyranny,” but any opposition to the corporate-capitalist system of imperialism and oppression that protects corporate interests and the wealth and power of the ruling classes. “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people,” he said, “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”