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Why Business And Government Are Quiet About TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been negotiated secretly for many years and there is good reason for the secrecy, especially in terms of how it affects billions of people in the world. As you might guess those who benefit most are governments and the rich and powerful.

Clyde Prestowitz, president of the Economic Strategy Institute, who served in the Reagan and Clinton administrations, says that TPP won’t deliver jobs or curb China’s power, the former a fallacy that seems to be pushed, or at least suggested, by both Congress and the Obama administration.

Supporters like Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and former U.S. …

The Greek Elections and Media Bias

Who are the heroes of Greece?

As you may have heard, Greece will be holding national elections this Sunday, January 25. I’m not here to talk about the election itself, however—I’d rather focus on how the for-profit media has skewed their reporting on the election to imbue everything they write with a clear anti-Syriza bias. And this is an important issue to keep in mind, because as Malcolm X once observed: “If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

With that in mind, notice how virtually every mainstream …

Divesting America of Ozone-Destroying Energy Sources

Long before the price of gas and oil began to plummet, socially conscious churches, universities, non-profit organizations, and local governments began to divest themselves of fossil fuel stock and shock the fossil fuel industry to understand the environmental and public health concerns.

The World Council of Churches, which represents about 590 million Christians in 520,000 congregations, decided in July that to continue to hold fossil fuel stock would compromise its ethics, and recommended that the 349 member denominations consider divesting oil and gas stock.

Six of the eight Anglican dioceses of New Zealand and Polynesia, and four dioceses in Australia divested their …

Contradiction in Action: The Eulogies for King Abdullah

What a spanner in the works of international relations he proved to be. The late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia was always the spoiler in the morality plays of Western powers keen to back him. Oil was always the greatest deterrent against getting on his wrong side, but it also meant the most intolerable of inconsistencies. For most governments, however, these were tolerated.

Those inconsistencies were there for all to see in the eulogies for the monarch. US President Barack Obama gave a description of someone who was distinctly different from a member of the House of …

“Operation Merlin”: Another self-serving CIA project

The jury is still out in the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling for allegedly having leaked the story of “Operation Merlin” – the covert CIA effort to lure Iran into working on phony plans for a key component of a nuclear weapon – to New York Times reporter James Risen.

But “Operation Merlin” itself was also on trial. The CIA was hoping that testimony by prosecution witnesses and a series of declassified CIA cables introduced as evidence would show that Risen’s account was wrong in recounting that the CIA’s human asset “Merlin” had immediately spotted a flaw in the …

Three Minutes to Midnight

The threat is serious, the time short. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists does not move the hands of the Doomsday Clock for light or transient reasons. The clock ticks now at just three minutes to midnight because international leaders are failing to perform their most important duty—ensuring and preserving the health and vitality of human civilization.

— Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January 2015

When Barack Hussein Obama was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize on December  10th, 2009, just eight months into his Presidency, the motivation was: “ for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples.”

The Nobel …

Occupier’s Justice: Heads and Tails You Lose

Yesterday I had an idea for a short story to explain the unrelenting insanity of the occupation for ordinary Palestinians. Tell me what you think.

In my story, there is a Palestinian family, let’s call them the Jaabaris, and they live next to a Jewish settlement, let’s call it Kiryat Arba, close to Hebron deep in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

One day the settlers decide to build a synagogue on the family’s private land in an effort to force them off.

This family decide to stand their ground. Sadly, they have no way to stop the takeover of land that has been in their family …

Aleppo Photographer Brings Syrian Reality to the United Nations

Twenty-six distinct photos, in black and white. Scenes of a ravaged city and the human beings within struggling to exist, let alone to find hope for the future. Gravestones of rubble. Homes looted, trashed. Civilians defending their country. Children aged beyond their years by the horrors they’ve lived.Hagop Vanesian, a 44 year old Syrian-Armenian photographer from Syria’s largest city, Aleppo (Halab), was meticulous in his choice of photographs for the exhibition, “My Homeland,” which opened at the United Nations Headquarters on January 8 and ran until January 16.

I chose the photographs showing the destruction, and children. I have many

A Future in Prison

The Bureau of Prisons contacted me today, assigning me a prison number and a new address:  for the next 90 days, beginning tomorrow, I’ll live at FMC Lexington, in the satellite prison camp for women, adjacent to Lexington’s federal medical center for men.  Very early tomorrow morning, Buddy Bell, Cassandra Dixon, and Paco and Silver, two house guests whom we first met in protests on South Korea’s Jeju Island, will travel with me to Kentucky and deliver me to the satellite women’s prison outside the Federal Medical Center for men.

In December, 2014, Judge Matt Whitworth sentenced me to three …

The Strategy Behind Israel’s Attack on Iran and Hizballah

Israel’s claims of an imminent threat of Hizballah attack are not credible. More likely it wants to subdue the Lebanese militia so that it has a free hand to manipulate the Syrian battlefield to its advantage

Israel has good reason to fear that the Lebanese militia Hizballah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard will seek dramatic revenge for the killing of 12 senior figures from the two organisations in an air strike in Syria on Sunday.

Israel’s concerns were underscored on Wednesday by the decision of its military chief of staff, Benny Gantz, to cancel a trip to meet his European counterparts, as the Israeli army remained on high alert.

Earlier, on Monday, Israel moved an Iron Dome anti-missile battery to the northern border, in case of rocket fire from Hizballah. That is precisely what Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah had …

Federal Prison Sentence Begins for Anti-Drone Activist

On January 23, Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare, will begin a three-month jail sentence in federal prison for a protest against drones (also known as “unmanned aerial vehicles”) at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. I had a chance to interview her before she had to turn herself in.
Medea Benjamin: Can you just say why you have been particularly moved to take action against drone strikes?
Kathy Kelly: I think 21st-century militarism is very …

Canada’s Flourishing Arms Trade with Middle East Dictatorships

Psst. Looking for arms? Guns, ammunition, high tech supplies, armoured vehicles, and more, all quality Canadian made. Background check? We can get around that. Not democratic? No worries. Tools of repression? Sounds good to us.

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are working to expand Canadian arms exports and the focus is Middle Eastern monarchies entangled in a great deal of violence.

At the start of last year the Conservatives announced Canada’s biggest ever arms export agreement. Over the next 10 to 13 years General Dynamics Land Systems Canada will supply $14.8 billion worth of light armoured vehicles (LAVs) to the Saudi military.

Ottawa pushed this …

Death By A Thousand Cuts: Earth Enters The “Danger Zone”

Last week, climate researchers at both NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that 2014 was the planet’s warmest year in the modern record, going all the way back to 1880. The ten warmest years have now occurred since 2000, with the sole exception of 1998 when there was a strong El Niño warming event in the Pacific Ocean.

Climate scientist Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University put the scale of global warming in stark perspective when she told Associated Press:

The globe is warmer now than it has been in the last 100 years and more

Lessons that Hollande Failed to Learn from George W. Bush

Francois Hollande is not a popular president. No matter how hard the ‘socialist’ leader tries to impress, there never seems to be a solid constituency that backs him. He attempted to mask his initial lack of experience in foreign affairs with a war in Mali, after his country enthusiastically took on Libya. While he succeeded at launching wars, he failed at managing their consequences as the latest attacks in Paris have demonstrated.

Following the attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, he is now attempting to ride a wave of popularity among his countrymen. On January 11, an estimated 3.5 million people …

Trojan Hearse: Greek Elections and the Euro Leper Colony

Europe is stunned, and bankers aghast, that polls show the new party of the Left, Syriza, will win Greece’s parliamentary elections to be held this coming Sunday, January 25.

Syriza promises that, if elected, it will cure Greece of leprosy.  Oddly, Syriza also promises that it will remain in the leper colony. That is, Syriza wants to rid Greece of the cruelty of austerity imposed by the European Central Bank but insists on staying in the euro zone.

The problem is austerity run wild is merely a symptom of an illness. The underlying …

Return of the Polar Vortex?

In the winter of 2014-15 has the polar vortex wind-chill jolt subsided? Do we even need to address its source and its cause? Scientists promise that it is part of the extremes climate change brings, and will return. But how is that paradox – extreme cold out of a warming planet — possible?

It’s elementary – at least initially.

The movement of air from high pressure to lower pressure is called wind. The wind’s strength depends on the pressure differences between warm air that rises and cold air that falls. The jet stream is a higher altitude air flow that affects …

Statue of Chicago’s Black Founder Defaced on ML King Day Weekend

Another tale from “Post-Racial America”

The city of Chicago was founded by a black man.  But you knew that already, right?

On Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Chicago restored a downtown sculpture of its Haitian-born black founder situated on Michigan Avenue’s Manificent Mile near where the fur trader’s palatial (by 18th century standards) home, trading post, saloon, and expansive farm stood for half a century.   On Sunday (the day before the celebration of “King Day”) it was discovered that a black mask had been painted across the face of the artwork.
Credit: Chicago

Uday Al-Zaidy: Another Life in the Balance in “The New Iraq”

This is a very serious matter – they will slaughter him.

— Sabah Al-Mukhtar, President of the Arab Lawyers Association

On Saturday, January 10th, the BRussells Tribunal circulated a Press Release which stated, “Iraq: Mr Uday Al-Zaidi – Appeal of Extreme Urgency.”

It outlined “an appeal for the immediate and urgent mobilization of (the relevant UN Agencies, Amnesty International. Human Rights Watch and other international NGOs and appropriate legal bodies) in securing the release of the prominent human rights defender, Mr Uday Al-Zaidi.”

The Appeal was necessarily brief, but the wider context is vital to understanding as another life hangs in the balance …

Murdering Journalists … Them and Us

The Anti-Empire Report #136

After Paris, condemnation of religious fanaticism is at its height. I’d guess that even many progressives fantasize about wringing the necks of jihadists, bashing into their heads some thoughts about the intellect, about satire, humor, freedom of speech. We’re talking here, after all, about young men raised in France, not Saudi Arabia.

Where has all this Islamic fundamentalism come from in this modern age? Most of it comes – trained, armed, financed, indoctrinated – from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. During various periods from the 1970s to the present, these four countries had been the most secular, modern, educated, welfare states …

Charlie Hebdo and the Long Form

To the first: the end of the anti-​colonial era was followed immediately by the not so rosy dawn of neoliberalism. Quickly, Arab nationalism gave way to Gulf capitalism; the always bourgeois PLO gave way to the neoliberal Palestine Authority. Simultaneously, the Arab working-​class suffered a set of quintessential neoliberal losses compounded by what might be called the economic shock doctrine brought on by the likes of World Bank and IMF that came with the end of colonialism and the beginning of the neoliberal era. Thus, before any fruits of decolonization could be fully enjoyed, the working class of the global