By Beverly Bell for Other Worlds. One year ago today, Berta Cáceres was murdered by the national and local Honduran government and a multinational dam company, with at least the tacit support of the US. Last September, all the evidence Cáceres’ family had collected over many months was stolen, almost certainly by the government. The government has also refused to share information with the family and to allow independent parties like the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to help with the process. Please contact your US congressperson to urge him or her to endorse the Berta Cáceres Human Rights Act, which is being re-introduced today, March 2, 2017. It compels the US government to cut military aid to Honduras until it improves its human rights record.
By Katie Martin for The Atlantic – A week later, audio of a police radio dispatch from the protest was released online. In the recording, an officer alerts a department intelligence analyst about of one of the protest organizers. “One of the girls here… she’s been on her phone a lot,” the officer says. “You guys picking up any information? Where they’re going, possibly?”The analyst responds, “Yeah, we’re keeping an eye on it. We’ll let you know if we hear anything.”The leaked conversation and the cellphone disruptions led many activists to conclude that the police were eavesdropping on them. This story circulated widely in protest circles, but the Chicago Police Department never confirmed any such surveillance operations that night. Legally, listening in on private communications between citizens talking over mobile phones would require a Title III search warrant. But one thing is indisputable: The technology to snoop on nearby phones exists—and the Chicago Police Department has had it for over ten years.
By Barry Grey for WSWS – In an extraordinary appearance Monday at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, President Donald Trump dispensed with democratic protocol to deliver a political speech. He denounced the press and implicitly suggested the formation of a presidential-military alliance against the courts and the Constitution. In his brief remarks, Trump lavished praise on the Central Command and Special Forces Command troops that are based at MacDill. He began by thanking the military for its lopsided vote in his favor in last November’s election. “And I saw those numbers—and you like me and I like you,” he said. He continued: “And we’re going to be loading [MacDill] up with beautiful new planes and beautiful new equipment… We’re going to load you up.” He returned to this theme several times, stating at one point, “We will make a historic financial investment in the Armed Forces of the United States…”
By Miriam Pemberton for Other Words – The president says he’ll protect our interests against the boondoggle weapons makers. Don’t believe him. There’s a lot of misdirection going on these days. Anybody whose head hasn’t been spinning over the last couple of weeks has probably been in a nice news blackout somewhere. We’ll all need some strategies if we’re going to stay sane. One is making sure that in the midst of the controversy of the day, we keep track of the big picture. Here’s one attempt along those lines. Donald Trump has been taking credit for cutting $600 million from the contract for the biggest Pentagon buy in history: the F-35 “Joint Strike Fighter” plane.
By Andrew deGrandpre and Shawn Snow for Military Times – In 2016 alone, U.S. combat aircraft conducted at least 456 airstrikes in Afghanistan that were not recorded as part of an open-source database maintained by the U.S. Air Force, information relied on by Congress, American allies, military analysts, academic researchers, the media and independent watchdog groups to assess each war’s expense, manpower requirements and human toll. Those airstrikes were carried out by attack helicopters and armed drones operated by the U.S. Army, metrics quietly excluded from otherwise comprehensive monthly summaries, published online for years, detailing American military activity in all three theaters.
By Benjamin Freed for Washingtonian – While Trump says later in the interview that he has other plans for fulfilling his campaign slogan, the suggestion of military parades in DC feels a little, well, foreign. There are plenty of parades in Washington that include military participation, including those on July 4 and Memorial Day, to say nothing of the one on Friday that will follow Trump’s swearing-in. But the uniformed elements of those parades tend to be limited to companies on foot and mounted units, with the rest of the processions filled out by the usual festive retinue of marching bands, classic cars, local affinity groups, and floats. And even then, the military presences in those events are designed to allow spectators to show their appreciation for service members, not as a show of martial force.
By Staff of KFYR-TV – WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to the Morton County Sheriff’s Office, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants all people camping on its property north of the Cannonball River to leave by Dec. 5. The Corps sent a letter to Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault Nov. 25, saying the decision is to protect the general public from violent confrontations between protesters and law enforcement in that area. He also says the decision was made to protect inhabitants of the camps from the harsh North Dakota winter and that medical, emergency and fire response teams cannot be provided.
By Julia Carrie Wong for The Guardian – The US army corps of engineers has completed its review of the Dakota Access pipeline and is calling for “additional discussion and analysis”, further delaying completion of a project that has faced massive opposition from indigenous and environmental activists. The statement comes amid heightened tensions between Native American activists and the surrounding community over the pipeline, which the Standing Rock Sioux tribe says could contaminate its water supply and destroy sacred sites.
By Steve Horn for Desmog – Robert Crear, one of the lobbyists working for Dakota Access pipeline co-owners Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics, formerly served as a chief of staff and commanding general for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps and other federal agencies are currently reviewing the permit granted for the controversial pipeline’s construction near the Missouri River and Lake Oahe in North Dakota…
By Staff of Tele Sur – Victims of the paramilitary operation against the FARC-EP in 2002 called on the former president to take responsibility for the crimes. As Colombians mark the 14th anniversary of “Operation Orion” – a military offensive in the city of Medellin against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia that led to the takeover by paramilitary groups who killed and tortured people – victims are calling for the prosecution of the official who authorized the operation: former President Alvaro Uribe.
By Staff of Auckland Peace Action – The government has indicated it plans to deploy the NZ military against a peaceful flotilla opposing the entry of warships into Auckland Harbour in November. “This is a major crackdown on protests. It even bans swimming in parts of the Harbour while these warships are around,” said Auckland Peace Action member Valerie Morse. The NZ Navy is hosting wargames with a US warship in mid-November in the Hauraki Gulf. Auckland Peace Action is organising a flotilla to demonstrate New Zealanders’ opposition to war and weapons.
By Pat Elder for World Beyond War – Countering military recruitment in the nation’s high schools confronts an ugly mix of a distinctively American brand of institutionalized violence, racism, militarism, nationalism, classism, and sexism. It confronts the greatest problems in American society. I will spend a few minutes on the despicable public policy involving tens of thousands of American government employees both in and out of active duty, whose job it is to persuade high school kids to enlist in the Armed Services. It is an extraordinarily deceptive and reprehensible psychological pursuit.
By Carol Morello and William Booth for The Washington Post – The United States signed an unprecedented pact with Israel that will provide the Jewish state with the largest amount of military aid ever awarded, $38 billion over 10 years, with promises of the latest in fighter jets, missile defense systems and cutting-edge technology. The signing did not take place between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — or their defense secretaries — but occurred in a quiet ceremony on a top floor of the State Department, and neither of the men who signed the pact was a household name.
By Ed Pilkington for the Guardian. Chelsea Manning has made an impassioned critique against the US military’s new rules allowing transgender people openly to serve in the armed forces, arguing that the reforms fall short of true equality. As the highest-profile transgender individual in the armed services today, Manning’s criticisms carry particular weight within the debate around opening up the military. The army soldier said she responded to the defense secretary Ash Carter’s announcement of the rule change on Thursday with initial relief, followed by a dawning concern. Writing for the Guardian from her prison cell in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking US state secrets to WikiLeaks, Manning raised two main objections to the revised policies. Since 2014 she has been suing the US government in federal court to be allowed to live fully as a woman while in custody. So far, her wishes have only been partially granted. She has been given access to hormone treatment, cosmetics and speech therapy. But the military is continuing to hold her in a male lock-up within Fort Leavenworth, and insists that she must wear her hair at regulation length for male personnel.