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Rule of Law

When Can A Soldier Disobey An Order?

In March 1968, a U.S. infantry platoon under the command of 2nd Lt. William “Rusty” Calley conducted a raid of a hamlet called My Lai in Quang Ngai Province of South Vietnam. After taking the hamlet, Calley ordered his men to round up the remaining civilians, herd them into a ditch, and gun them down. Somewhere between 350 and 500 civilians were killed on Calley’s instruction. Calley was court-martialed for his actions and charged with 22 counts of murder. At his trial, he testified that his company commander, Capt. Ernest Medina, had ordered him to kill “every living thing” in My Lai, telling him there were no civilians there, only Viet Cong. When Calley radioed back to Medina that the platoon had rounded up a large number of unarmed civilians, he claimed Medina told him to “waste them.”

Ten Ways We Pretend War Is Not A Crime And How To Change Them

Happy Kellogg-Briand Pact Day! As you all know, but most people do not, the Peace Pact was signed 91 years ago today. And, as you all probably know, but most people do not, the inspiration and vision and endless labor behind it came from a mass movement begun and led, not by Mr. Kellogg or Monsieur Briand but by a lawyer from Chicago named Salmon Oliver Levinson. You could point that out to Minnesotans from Frank Kellogg’s Twin Cities if, of course, any of them had ever heard of Frank Kellogg. A long time back I was asked for a title for this speech, which I hadn’t yet written, and I replied “10 Ways We Pretend War Is Not a Crime and How to Change Them.” More recently I sat down with the hope that I could think of 10 such ways. Unfortunately, far more than 10 items immediately occurred to me.

Tell The State Department To Protect The Embassies

The Embassy Protection Collective held the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC for 37 days with the goal of preventing the U.S. government from installing a coup leader in the Embassy before the U.S. and Venezuela could reach a mutual agreement to allow third countries to protect their embassies. Mutual protecting power agreements would provide a peaceful path for the U.S. and Venezuela to safeguard their respective embassies until diplomatic relations are restored. The good news is that the two countries are very close to achieving that goal.

Activists Remain In Venezuelan Embassy With Gratitude From Foreign Ministry

Washington, DC - Thursday, April 25, the day activists anticipated the Secret Service might evict them from the Venezuelan embassy, turned into a day of growing support for and attention to the embassy protection efforts. Activists are making it clear that they are in the embassy with the permission of the foreign ministry. In fact, on Wednesday night, Carlos Ron, the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs for Venezuela, sent a video message to the protectors: "Hello everyone. My name is Carlos Ron. I’m Vice Minister for Foreign Relations for Venezuela. We want to first of all, thank you all for standing up for international law, for the well-being of the Venezuela embassy in Washington.

Action: 24/7 Protection of DC Venezuelan Embassy

Washington, DC - Activists opposed to the Venezuelan opposition takeover of diplomatic buildings belonging to the elected Venezuelan government have been staging a 24/7 vigil to protect the Venezuelan Embassy that lies in the heart of Georgetown in Washington DC. Calling themselves the Embassy Civilian Protection Collective, the activists are working in the embassy during the day, holding educational events in the evening, and sleeping on couches at night. The evening events include seminars on Julian Assange, Haiti, US foreign policy in Africa, peace talks with Korea, the war in Yemen, and the political situation in Venezuela.

Private Companies Fly Drones In War Zones

By Corp Watch for Op Ed News. U.S. Air Force officials have begun to hire private companies to fly drone aircraft operating over Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The unprecedented move is in response to demands from the Obama administration to dramatically expand the drone war just as the Pentagon faces a critical shortage of military pilots. As a result, civilian pilots will directly participate in military operations for the first time since the drone wars began about a decade ago. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Air Force signed contracts with two private companies in 2015 to provide enough pilots to fly two "combat air patrols" or 24-hour surveillance flights that would involve as many as eight MQ-9 Reaper drones per day.

Letter From Political Prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney

By Rev. Edward Pinkney. My name is Reverend Edward Pinkney. I am at Lakeland Correctional Facility, otherwise known as a prison, in Coldwater, Michigan. I am a victim of racial injustice and over-reaching corporate power in Berrien County, Michigan. I am an internationally recognized activist who acts and fights for justice for all, and I am the leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO). I was sentenced to 30 months to ten years. This is a death sentence for a 66-year-old man. I was accused of a crime I did not commit. Because I exercised my democratic right to petition to recall the Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower, who supports the Whirlpool Corporation and not the residents of Benton Harbor, I was charged with five felony counts of changing dates on petitions!

Tell DOJ To Uphold Law By Prosecuting Torture

The UN Special Representative on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson QC has reminded us that “torture is a crime of universal jurisdiction” The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, said it is "crystal clear" under international law that the United States, which ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture in 1994, now has an obligation to ensure accountability. He further added: “If they order, enable or commit torture, recognized as a serious international crime, they cannot simply be granted impunity because of political expediency”. US President Obama must be aware that not holding the perpetrators accountable is a victory for impunity and will have far-reaching implications for global security

UC Berkeley Administrators Not Dismissed from Occupy Cal Lawsuit

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled the protesters’ allegations are sufficient to suggest the administrators were responsible for failing to prevent the police violence. “The allegations … give rise to a plausible claim that, by the evening, it was or should have been obvious to the UC administrators what would be the likely result of Birgeneau’s directive that they ‘not back down’ on the no-encampment policy: a violent response from the police that would lead to excessive use of force and false arrest by the officers under their control,” Rogers wrote in her ruling.

VIDEO: Community Blockades Illegal Activity In White Clay

Lakota and allies march on White Clay, NE to stop illegal activity by bar owners. Illegal activities include: Selling to intoxicated & minors. allowing drinking on offsale property, bartering for pornography & Sexual Favors and offering welfare checks debt for alcohol to name a few.

Video: Greenwald & Chomsky Say Rule of Law Not Working

Former constitutional rights lawyer Glenn Greenwald contends that the United States has a two-tiered judicial system, one for the "haves" and one for the "have-nots." Mr. Greenwald presents his argument by tracing the evolution of judicial inequality, from President Richard Nixon's pardon for the Watergate scandal to what the author deems were economic and political crimes committed during the George W. Bush administration. The author posits that both political parties and the media are culpable for creating an unequal judicial system. Glenn Greenwald presented his thoughts in conversation with political activist Noam Chomsky. They also responded to questions from members of the audience. This was a special event of the Harvard Book Store, held at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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