Note: More wonderfulness under the watchful eye of Obama…
-The GJEP Team
By Jed Morey, May 14, 2013. Source: Long Island Press
U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Photo: Senior Airman Sean Martin, U.S. Air Force
The manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects offered the nation a window into the stunning military-style capabilities of our local law enforcement agencies. For the past 30 years, police departments throughout the United States have benefitted from the government’s largesse in the form of military weaponry and training, incentives offered in the ongoing “War on Drugs.” For the average citizen watching events such as the intense pursuit of the Tsarnaev brothers on television, it would be difficult to discern between fully outfitted police SWAT teams and the military.
The lines blurred even further Monday as a new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.
Click here to read the new rule
The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule:
Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.
Note: “When General Ríos Montt seized power in March 1982, President Ronald Reagan’s administration cultivated him as a reliable Central American ally in its battle against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government and Salvadoran guerrillas. ” Another US-backed dictator brought to justice. Here’s to you, President Reagan.
-The GJEP Team
By Elisabeth Malkin, May 10, 2013. Source: NY Times
Photo: Moises Castillo/Associated Press
A Guatemalan court on Friday found Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, the former dictator who ruled Guatemala during one of the bloodiest periods of its long civil war, guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity.
Judge Yasmín Barrios sentenced General Ríos Montt, 86, to 80 years in prison. His co-defendant, José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, who served as the director of intelligence under the general, was acquitted of the same two charges.
“We are completely convinced of the intent to destroy the Ixil ethnic group,” Judge Barrios said as she read the hourlong summary of the ruling by the three-judge panel. Over five weeks, the tribunal heard more than 100 witnesses, including psychologists, military experts and Maya Ixil Indian survivors who told how General Ríos Montt’s soldiers had killed their families and wiped out their villages.
By Dave Ross, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Will Miller Green Mountain Veterans for Peace, 4 May, 2013
Kent State Ohio, touched by history. Last night I met, and talked briefly with, Dean Kahler following a candlelight march to honor and remember the four students shot down in cold blood by the Ohio National Guard and the nine students they wounded. The students were shot down for protesting the war in Vietnam, my war, they were neither violent nor even threatening. Of the wounded who lived, Dean received the worst injuries and will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. In the candlelight, he still looked young; he is appreciative that people still remember what happened that day at Kent and Jackson state.
I was with my friends from Vietnam Veterans Against the War / Old School Sappers who are also members of Veterans for Peace. In my memory of pictures I have seen of the Guard shooting down on the students, the hill they are standing looks impressive. Actually, it’s just a little rise looking over a nondescript parking area – just nothing dramatic at all. The organizers had laid out four tiny “plots” where the students fell – these small, empty spaces are where we left our candles and America left its soul.
For GJEP Board Chair and co-founder Orin Langelle’s blog post about Kent State including his photo from the Kent State protest at the 1972 Republican National Convention, visit the Langelle Photography website
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young–Ohio
By Michael T. Klare, April 21, 2013. Source: Tomdispatch.com
Brace yourself. You may not be able to tell yet, but according to global experts and the U.S. intelligence community, the earth is already shifting under you. Whether you know it or not, you’re on a new planet, a resource-shock world of a sort humanity has never before experienced.
Two nightmare scenarios — a global scarcity of vital resources and the onset of extreme climate change — are already beginning to converge and in the coming decades are likely to produce a tidal wave of unrest, rebellion, competition, and conflict. Just what this tsunami of disaster will look like may, as yet, be hard to discern, but experts warn of “water wars” over contested river systems, global food riots sparked by soaring prices for life’s basics, mass migrations of climate refugees (with resulting anti-migrant violence), and the breakdown of social order or the collapse of states. At first, such mayhem is likely to arise largely in Africa, Central Asia, and other areas of the underdeveloped South, but in timeall regions of the planet will be affected.
To appreciate the power of this encroaching catastrophe, it’s necessary to examine each of the forces that are combining to produce this future cataclysm.
By Zack Dyer, April 9 2013. Source: The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
One of the PlusD’s visualization tools illustrating the frequency of mentions of countries and cities by the U.S. State Department from 1973 to 1976. Image: Knight Center
WikiLeaks released 1.7 million United States diplomatic cables from the 1970s that include “significant” revelations about U.S. involvement with Latin American dictatorships, according to a press release from the group on Sunday, April 7.
On Monday, April 8, the anti-secrecy organization launched the Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy, or PlusD, a searchable database of two million U.S. diplomatic cables, including the 2010 Cablegatedump and the 1.7 million “Kissinger Cables,” named for then-Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.
The Kissinger Cables, dating from 1973 to 1976, dwarf Cablegate, comprised of 250,000 cables. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called PlusD “the single most significant body of geopolitical material ever published,” according to a press release.
Among the millions of cables, WikiLeaks highlighted how the documents expose U.S. involvement with dictatorships in Latin America and Spain during the 1970s. Guatemala’s Plaza Pública, one of the group’s media partners, has already started publishing stories using the Kissinger Cables. Continue reading
Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.
March 7, 2013. Source: EIN Presswire
Photo: EIN Presswire
While the world celebrates the International Women’s Day; 90,000 Tamil war widows and their daughters are facing sexual abuse by the Sri Lankan Security forces, said Mrs. Balambihai Murugadas, Minister for Women, Children & Elderly for the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE).
According to a report by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Human Rights and Democracy (May, 2012); there are up to 90,000 Tamil war widows in the North & East of Sri Lanka.
“United Nations Secretary General should take urgent steps to protect these vulnerable Tamil war widows and their daughters from facing sexual violence and rape at the hands of the Sri Lankan security forces. It is time to set up International Protection Mechanism to defend these vulnerable women. As a first step UN should send human rights monitors to be stationed in the North & East of the Island, where these widows live” said Mrs. Murugadas.
UN Secretary General’s own panel on Sri Lanka and UN’s Internal Review report documented sexual assault of Tamil women by Sri Lankan security forces. But, still United Nations Secretary General has not taken any meaningful steps to protect the Tamil women from these abuses. These UN Panels and UN Secretary General’s own legal team recommended UN Secretary General to appoint International Commission of Inquiry, under Article 99.
February 24, 2013. Source: Weekly News Update on the Americas
Rights Action, a human rights organization based in Toronto and Washington, DC, released a report on Feb. 20 documenting killings and other abuses carried out since late 2009 during land disputes between campesinos and major landowners in the Lower Aguán Valley in northern Honduras. The 64-page report, “Human Rights Violations by US-backed Honduran Special Forces Unit,” finds that soldiers from the Honduran military’s 15th Battalion are directly implicated in at least 34 abuses, including “kidnappings, killings, threats, torture and abuse of authority,” according to the report’s author, Annie Bird.
Since 2008 or earlier, Bird says, the battalion has “received assistance and training from the Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) of the United States Armed Forces.” Honduran media have reported that Spanish and Israeli special forces have also trained the soldiers; local informants say Colombian and Panamanian trainers have participated as well.
Based on dozens of interviews and on reports from the Honduran media and human rights groups, Bird compiled a list of at least 88 campesinos killed since January 2010, including two killed on Feb. 16, right before the report’s release. An additional five people were apparently killed because they were mistaken for campesinos. According to the report, “at least 77″ of the campesino deaths “clearly have the characteristics of death squad killings, contradicting reports from the Honduran government human rights commission CONADEH [the National Human Rights Commission] and US State Department that characterize the killings as the result of ‘confrontations.’” Bird also cites as many as 13 killings of security guards employed by the big landowners, noting that many of the guards are themselves campesinos; there are suspicions that some of these killings were carried out by other security forces.
By John Ahni Schertow, February 8, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Most recent hunger strike by imprisoned activists over “politically motivated prosecutions” and state application of Antiterrorist Law comes to a close as conflict between Mapuche communities and the Chilean state intensifies. The Real News Network reports.
By Spencer Ackerman, February 8, 2013. Source: Wired
Neuroimaging techniques like this Siemens software display are used by Army doctors to examine and diagnose traumatic brain injuries. Photo: Siemens, via U.S. Army
Here are indications of the lingering costs of 11 years of warfare. Nearly 130,000 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and vastly more have experienced brain injuries. Over 1,700 have undergone life-changing limb amputations. Over 50,000 have been wounded in action. As of Wednesday, 6,656 U.S. troops and Defense Department civilians have died.
That updated data (.pdf) comes from a new Congressional Research Service report into military casualty statistics that can sometimes be difficult to find — and even more difficult for American society to fully appreciate. It almost certainly understates the extent of the costs of war.
Start with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Counting since 2001 across the U.S. military services, 129,731 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with the disorder since 2001. The vast majority of those, nearly 104,000, have come from deployed personnel.
But that’s the tip of the PTSD iceberg, since not all — and perhaps not even most — PTSD cases are diagnosed. The former vice chief of staff of the Army, retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, has proposed dropping the “D” from PTSD so as not to stigmatize those who suffer from it — and, perhaps, encourage more veterans to seek diagnosis and treatment for it. (Not all veterans advocates agreewith Chiarelli.)