World News

Orca Profiles in Captivity: #2 of the San Diego 10

April 22, 2014 by Source
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By Cara Wilson-Granat

This is the second in a series of ten in which we meet one of the San Diego 10 orcas and hear from an advocate who continues to be one of the voices of these imprisoned voiceless, never stopping until the whole world listens.

Prisoner #2: Kasatka

Age: About 36

Captured off the coast of Iceland, on October 26, 1978, Kasatka was just one year old when torn from her pod. Kasatka, whose name comes from the generic Russian derivative of the word “orca,” is 17.7 feet (5.4m) long and weighs 5,950 pounds (2,700 kg.)

Each of Kasatka’s children is captive born. She gave birth to four offspring: Takara, Nakai, Kalia, and Makani. Nakai, born on September 1, 2001, is the first orca to be born as a result of artificial insemination. While his mother, Kasatka, lived in California, his father, Tilikum, was in Florida. Tilikum is featured in the documentary, “Blackfish.” More on Nakai later in this series.

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Fukushima Meltdown – US Sailors Sue Japanese Electrical Company

April 14, 2014 by Source

050629-N-5060B-006By Kathleen Gilberd

Three years ago, a massive earthquake led to a triple melt-down and explosions at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In the wake of the disaster, the US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan was sent to Honshu Island, where the reactor is located, to render aid as part of Operation Tomadachi (Friendship). With the ship as close as a mile off shore, sailors worked 18-hour days to rescue civilians in the radiation area.

Now sailors from the Ronald Reagan have filed a one billion dollar class action suit against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), owner of the nuclear plant, alleging that they were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, far in excess of what TEPCO told the Navy to expect. There are over 100 plaintiffs in the class action, which was filed in San Diego on February 6

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Prune Nourry: French Artist’s Terracotta Daughters Are on the Move

April 4, 2014 by Source
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Editor: The following article and photos were sent to us from Paris, France, by Mic Porte, a community activist who lives in Pacific Beach who is visiting Europe with her daughter.

By Mic Porte

I love Paris, the city where people will stand attentively in line for hours to view an art exposition. Galleries, book stores and theaters are always packed. In France, food is art, clothing is art, life is art, and art is in their hearts from the beginning of recorded time– think of the beautiful Lascaux prehistoric cave paintings.

French children are taught art appreciation from day one and it reflects in the architecture and design and lifestyle all around the country. Visual art. The French invented photography and cinema to further the reach of art for the modern world. They are not afraid to expand the boundaries of acceptability, always challenging our perspective of the world, from Impressionism to Dadaism.

The 2014 Spring Equinox heralds the arrival of one of their own, Prune Nourry, young woman sculptress and multimedia artist, and her astonishing and powerful army of Terracotta Daughters, come to Paris to change the world. There is one word to describe this art show: Awesome.

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Secret Report Damning Use of Force by Border Patrol Obtained by LA Times

March 3, 2014 by Source
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By Southern Border Communities Coalition

Southern border communities continue to call for transparency from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after the Los Angeles Times published a story on a report critiquing the agency’s use of force policy.

The PERF Report – an independent review by the Police Executive Research Forum commissioned by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection — evidently says border agents deliberately provoked confrontations that led to avoidable violence.

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Point Loma’s Seamus O’Connor Rides for the Irish at the Olympics

February 12, 2014 by Staff
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Sure, Point Loma can claim Seamus O’Connor – he lives there. But the 16 year competed for Ireland on his snowboard at the Winter Olympics.

Here’s what the local can now claim:

  • He just competed at an Olympics,
  • He was the youngest entrant in slopestyle, the second youngest in halfpipe.
  • He wore lime green ski pants. His parents held up a hand-written “Go Seamus” sign and waved Irish flags.
  • He reached the semifinals in both events.
  • He was born in Poway.
  • His father grew up in England.
  • His mother is from Siberia.

O’Connor was amazing; he almost landed a frontside 1260 on the last jump pass in the semifinal run but then he spun out at the bottom of the halfpipe. He had been fourth after the first semifinal run but hit ninth at the end, losing out in doing anything like advancing. Only 6 could advance.

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Snowden Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

February 4, 2014 by Source
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Former NSA contractor named for ‘contributing to a more stable and peaceful world order’

From Alajezeera America

Two Norwegian lawmakers say they have nominated former NSA contractor Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Socialist lawmakers Baard Vegard Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen said [last week] that the public debate and policy changes “in the wake of Snowden’s whistle-blowing (have) contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”

Snowden fled to Russia, where he has requested temporary asylum after leaking classified security documents detailing widespread phone and email surveillance by the National Security Agency. In some cases, the agency shared the data with British, French and other countries’ intelligence units. The files also showed that the agency spied on international heads of state, spurring a fierce debate on privacy, sovereignty and security issues.

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In the Fog: The Struggle for Power, Territory, and Justice in the Mexican State of Michoacán

February 2, 2014 by Source

MichoacanSelfDefense

“We are not paramilitaries, we are working people and we have helped to liberate our towns. The government or any cartel doesn’t support us.”

By Clayton Conn / Upside Down World

Members of a self-defense group in Paracuaro, Michoacan with federal police.

Over the past several weeks, the national and international press has been swarming in the Mexican state of Michoacán as armed clashes have erupted between members of the Knights Templar drug cartel, armed civilians, and security forces of the federal police and army in the region known as Tierra Caliente.

Much of the coverage depicts a scene where local townspeople, fed up by a decade of cartel threats, extortions, kidnappings, murders, along with corruption by municipal and state authorities, have taken up arms to restore security and peace in their communities.

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What Violence Counts?

January 30, 2014 by Source

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By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

More than 100 species went extinct yesterday. They were my kin.

Despite this, I have been hearing people talk about how the world is getting better, how progress is being made, and how we have a bright future.

For example, CJ Werleman recently wrote an article for AlterNet titled “Humanity is Becoming Increasingly Less Violent, with One Exception – Religious Violence.” His opening line declares, “Studies demonstrate the world is becoming less violent, and that human warfare is on the decline.”

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NSA Spy – the Most Boring Pointless Job in the World?

January 29, 2014 by Source
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By John Filthy

In the ongoing international debate over NSA spying there are few voices of reason. The NSA would like you to think they are the eye on the pyramid of the great seal. An all-seeing all-knowing department of the most powerful government on earth. A division of James Bonds and Bondettes with the latest gadgetry spying on all manner of digital communication to protect the world from the scariest terrorist de jour.

On the other side of the same coin are the whistle blowers like Edward Snowden. He has now joined the ranks with Julian Assange and the Wikileaks hacktivists. They fancy themselves a gang of revolutionaries striking fear in the heart of evil government ‘leaders’, and corporate CEOs. Digital warriors, exercising their superior-hacking skills to bring nefarious secrets into the light of day. The truth is not nearly as sexy as the media, the NSA, or the hacktivists would have you believe.

In reality NSA spies are cubicle-dwelling keyboard jockeys not tuxedo-wearing international men of mystery.

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Indigenous People of Michoacán Organize to Defend Themselves Against Drug Cartel

January 28, 2014 by Source

First Statement from the Self-Defense Group of Aquila, Michoacán

aquilamichoacan

Written by The Self-Defense Council of Aquila, Michoacán
Translated by Scott Campbell of Upside Down World

Reposted from San Diego Free Press

Aquila, Michoacán?, January 18, 2014

From the Self-Defense Group of Aquila, Michoacán to the general public:

Today, the residents of the municipal seat of Aquila, tired of the extortions, rapes, killings, kidnappings and all sorts of criminal acts committed by the Knights Templar; given the complete abandonment of the citizenry by the municipal and state governments who for 12 years did not provide the security needed for our people to have a peaceful and dignified life; …

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The United Nations in My Closet.

January 15, 2014 by Source
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By John Filthy

People don’t often look at where their clothes come from. We don’t often think about who made them. Our closets are full of garments made by people making less than a dollar an hour. Don’t let the price of those Nike sneakers throw you. They weren’t expensive to make. They are expensive because you will pay. The profits do not go to better working conditions. Just ask the workers who survived the Savar garment-factory collapse in Bangladesh. The factory that manufactured clothes for Walmart, among others, killed 1,129 people and injured 2,515 when it collapsed on April 24, 2013.

I’m one of those hippy-clone-activist-types. I actually care where my clothes come from and read labels. I’m also a cheapskate and like to wear clothes that look like rags to some. Blame Johnny Rotten and Kurt Cobain. I didn’t invent the fashion. I must look homeless at times because people are always trying to gift me clothes. My better half is always trying to get me to throw clothes out. She is astounded that I can remember where I got each piece of clothing and how old some of them are.

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Twenty Years of NAFTA: Capital freely crosses borders while people can’t

January 7, 2014 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

In 1993, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was sold to the American public with grand promises. NAFTA would create tens of thousands of good jobs here. U.S. farmers would export their way to wealth. NAFTA would bring Mexico’s standard of living up, providing new economic opportunities there that would reduce immigration to the United States.Public Citizen NAFTA’s Broken Promises 1994-2013

NAFTA-20-Years-Later-1-Million-Jobs_issuebannerOn January 1, 1994, a trilateral free trade zone was established in North America. This treaty with the United States, Mexico and Canada resulted in the mass relocation of factories and capital south of the Mexican border. Then President Bill Clinton asserted that NAFTA was going to “promote more growth, more equality and better preservation of the environment and a greater possibility of world peace.”

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20th Anniversary of Zapatista Uprising Is Commemorated

January 7, 2014 by Source

Enero Zapatista Committee Organizes Month Long Series of Events

By Brent E. Beltrán

“Behind our black mask, behind our armed voice, behind our unnameable name, behind what you see of us, behind this, we are you.” – Major Ana Maria of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Twenty years ago on January 1 an unknown, rag tag rebel group walked out of the fog and rain forest of Chiapas, Mexico and into the imaginations of millions of Mexicans, indigenous people and lefties throughout the world.

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USS Ronald Reagan Sailors to Refile Suit For Fukushima Radiation Poisoning

January 2, 2014 by Source

At least 71 sailors from San Diego-based carrier have reported radiation sickness and will file a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Co.

US Navy Photo

By Brandon Baker / EcoNews

After U.S. Navy sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan responded to the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan for four days, many returned to the U.S. with thyroid cancer, Leukemia, brain tumors and more.

At least 71 sailors—many in their 20s—reported radiation sickness and will file a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), which operates the Fukushima Daiichi energy plant.

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Review of “Take to the Hills” by Former OBcean

December 27, 2013 by Source
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“Take to the Hills” by the Freewayblogger (AKA Patrick Randall)

by John Filthy

Take to the Hills: Clothing the Sierra Madres is a new e-book by the Freewayblogger. He tells an inspiring story about the thinking that took him from grading papers at SDSU to driving hundreds of pounds of donated clothes into the Sierra Madres mountains.

Some may know the Freewayblogger (AKA Patrick Randall) from the thousands of signs he has posted on the freeways of California and elsewhere. The first one I remember was visible coming into OB from the I-8. An upside down American flag with ‘RIP 1776-2001′ very shortly after the Supreme Court decision in the Bush/Gore election. But before Bush and he death of American democracy the Freewayblogger was doing something else.

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Hot Spots: Radioactive San Francisco

December 19, 2013 by Michael Steinberg
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by Michael Steinberg /blackrainpress / Dec 12th, 2013

This story is important in and of itself, but also because it once again unearths the region’s role in the birth of the atomic age, and also highlights the radioactive legacy that continues to haunt us.

On November 13 the San Francisco Chronicle ran a lead story written by the SF-based Center For Investigative Reporting. The story was about the radioactive contamination of Treasure Island, a former US Navy base in the middle of the Bay.

The Chron article reported that 575 metal discs consisting of radioactive radium-226 had been found in the ground at Treasure Island as of 2011. The report did not mention that the radioactive life of radium-226 is millennia, over 16,000 years.

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South Africa’s Role in My Evolution as an Educator

December 11, 2013 by Ernie McCray

As I reflect on Mandela’s passing I’m reminded of how the struggle of his people has played an important role in my development as an educator, starting back in ’57 or ’58 before I had taken my first “How to Teach” course at the University of Arizona.

At the time I was writing a research paper and found some essays on South Africa and the word “apartheid” leapt off the pages at me and I discovered that my struggle in Southern Arizona was so similar to what blacks were going through in the southern tip of the Dark Continent.

Of course, apartheid was more brutal. I didn’t have enough time to dwell on the subject so I just tucked my new found information away and got back to a life of pop quizzes and mid-terms and the like.

But, I didn’t know how much I had internalized what I had learned until the next year when I was in a class listening to a glowing lecture on South Africa that highlighted the country’s sparkling beaches and stunning countryside and rugged mountains and rich resources.

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Nelson Mandela – Rock Star? (Thoughts on His Passing)

December 11, 2013 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

First thing that came to my mind when I heard that my hero of heroes, Nelson Mandela, had passed away was “Man, what a Rock Star he was!” Now I know it seems profane to diminish a great man’s name like he was a Beatle or Rolling Stone or some facsimile thereof but let me explain.

When I got the news I had just spent a very pleasant morning and early afternoon with fellow University of Arizona alumni listening to one of us, a bright inspirational warm and beautiful woman, a motivational speaker, share from her successes as a business person, what leadership should be all about. Kristi Staab is her name. And she has a lot to say. To summarize, she advocates leading like a Rock Star, “inside out,” with passion and with solid ethics and personal values. That sure epitomizes Mandela.

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Many Tears Shed for Madiba Nelson Mandela, the Man Who Could Not Cry

December 6, 2013 by Doug Porter

via Nelson Mandela Foundation

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The media today is dominated by coverage of Nelson Mandela’s death at age 95. Following a few fast facts designed to put this great man in perspective, I’m reposting the best of the obituaries I’ve seen posted today. (It’s long, but worth it)

Facts you might not see in today’s mainstream media coverage:

  • During his 27 years of imprisonment he was forced to labor in Robben Island’s limestone quarry. The dust damaged his tear ducts, and when released, he could not cry.
  • He was never a pacifist, never a Gandhi and never afraid to assert the absolute right of the oppressed to fight back
  • The South African government banned photos of Mandela in prison. When he was released in 1990, few South Africans knew what he looked like.
  • Even after serving as the first Black President of South Africa and receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Mandela remained on the US terrorist watch list, requiring special certification from the State Department to enter the country. In 2008 George W Bush signed a bill fixing this just prior to his 90th birthday.
  • Mandela’s arrest in 1962 came as the result of a CIA informant, allowing the South African police to nab him at a roadblock, even though he was disguised as a chauffeur.
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50 Years of the Big Lie – the Cover-Up of the JFK Assassination – Part 2

November 22, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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Here’s Part 1.

By Frank Gormlie

It’s finally here, Friday, November 22nd – exactly 50 years after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.

Of course you’ve noticed it – you can’t help but … as everywhere you go there are signs that everybody in the media is commemorating the half century mark of the end of the Kennedy Era – an era that was terminated with bullets.

It’s been 50 years since the end of Camelot and we are told it was the end of the “idealism of the Sixties”.

Well, it has been fifty years, and it’s been fifty years of the Big Lie – …

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America’s Big Lie: Fifty Years of the Cover-Up of the John F Kennedy Assassination

November 21, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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By Frank Gormlie

Fifty years ago this Friday, the 22nd of November, I walked out of my English class at Point Loma High School and full of disgust threw my brown bag full of lunch away in a trash can. I felt sick to my stomach and couldn’t bare to think ab0ut eating – we had just heard that the President had been shot by someone from an overpass while he was riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.

Classes were cancelled and we all went home, …

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Senator Bernie Sanders: ‘Global Warming Is a Far More Serious Problem Than Al Qaeda’

October 22, 2013 by Source

In new interview with Playboy, the Vermont senator laments the collapsed middle class, corporate power.

sanders_playboyBy Andrea Germanos / Common Dreams

In a newly published interview, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) blasts the “unfettered capitalism” that has collapsed the middle class, and the corporate power fueling climate change, which poses a “far more serious problem than Al Qaeda.”

Sanders speaking about the government shutdown’s impacts. (Photo: AFGE/cc/flickr) Speaking with economics writer Jonathan Tasini for the interview with Playboy, the 72-year-old Independent senator said that “one of the untold stories of our time is the collapse of the American middle class.” It’s due, in part, to “the decline of trade unions,” which means that workers “have less power to negotiate contracts and less political clout.”

It’s a system that has brought immense inequality, he says.

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Jellyfish In Oceans Are Reaching Problematic Proportions

October 18, 2013 by Source
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By Christian Cotroneo / Huff Post Canada

So long humans.

And thanks for all the jellyfish.

If the oceans are indeed in steep decline, it may just be a triumph of the brainless — namely, the humble jellyfish.

“The number of case studies is increasing,” Lucas Brotz of the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre told the Huffington Post, “And it certainly seems we are having a severe impact on the oceans that is making them less favourable for fish and more favourable for jellyfish in some places.”

So far, the most direct impact — aside from swimming into a cloud of the critters — is being felt at the world’s nuclear reactor sites.

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Extreme Weather Watch: September 2013, Floods in Colorado and Mexico

October 10, 2013 by Source

weather5By John Lawrence

Boulder, CO -The rain began to fall on Monday, September 9. Experts would ultimately call it a 1,000-year rain and a 100-year flood. By Thursday September 12, Little James Creek began ripping buildings from their foundations and sending roofs plunging into basements. Roads were closed and still the rain kept coming.

In the city of Boulder, Boulder Creek was roaring at a rate of 3,104 cubic feet per second, according to Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner. Two days before, it had been flowing at a leisurely 54 cfs.

At 1:40 AM on Thursday University of Colorado officials issued a text alert ordering faculty and staff residents living in university housing near Boulder Creek to evacuate. Soon, CU and the Boulder Valley School District would both announce they were closing down.

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Ocean Acidification: State Of Seas In ‘Fast Decline’ According To Report

October 9, 2013 by Source
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By Christian Cotroneo / The Huffington Post Canada / October 4, 2013

Last month, a UN-sponsored panel expressed “extreme confidence” that the world is in the throes of climate change — a situation that sees oceans bear much of the brunt.

And now, a review from an international team of the world’s leading scientists suggests emerging dead zones may be stirring up mass extinctions in the world’s oceans.

“We have been taking the ocean for granted,” a study from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) claims. “It has been shielding us from the worst effects of accelerating climate change by absorbing excess CO2 from the atmosphere.

“Whilst terrestrial temperature increases may be experiencing a pause, the ocean continues to warm regardless.”

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October 2, 1968: 45 Years Ago – the Mexico City Massacre During Olympic Games

October 2, 2013 by Source

by Daniel Hernandez / Intersections / October 2, 2008

[Forty-five] years ago today the Mexican government opened fire indiscriminately on a crowd of peaceful protesters at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco, Mexico City, killing still-unknown numbers of students, bystanders, and demonstrators. The operation was a brutal smashing of the grassroots movement for social reform that had swept across Mexico and the world in that turbulent year, 1968.

Troops opened fire on protesters in La Plaza de las Tres Culturas - AP

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Rep. Alan Grayson: ‘As a Congressman, I need all the facts on Syria – and I’m not getting them.’

September 10, 2013 by Source
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On Syria Vote, Trust, but Verify

By Congressman Alan Grayson / The New York Times / Sept. 6, 2013

WASHINGTON — THE documentary record regarding an attack on Syria consists of just two papers: a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified summary. The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion.

On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was “no.”

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Has Assad Crossed a Red Line In Syria?

September 5, 2013 by Source

Syria fighterby Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Is the Gassing of 1400 Syrians More of a Crime Against Humanity Than the Slaughter of 100,000 Syrians?

Frank Thomas’ take:

Russia’s ongoing multi-dollar sales of advanced massively destructive weapons to Assad’s government has exacerbated the killing fields in Syria. Yet Russia sanctimoniously thinks the rest of the world, namely the U.S., has no right of humanitarian intervention to protect the lives of innocents being slaughtered by chemical weapons and more so by Russia’s own prolific arms sales to Assad’s military forces.

Russia would remind us that for many years (1980-88) Saddam Hussein’s army blatantly used mustard and nerve gases at will against Iran and even the people of Iraq. Foreign Policy has just published CIA documents confirming Washington and other western nations knew of Iraq’s production and use of chemical gases and even delivered some raw materials.

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Killing Civilians to Protect Civilians in Syria

August 29, 2013 by Source

by Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer / Common Dreams

The drums of war are beating again. The Obama administration will reportedly launch a military strike to punish Syria’s Assad government for its alleged use of chemical weapons. A military attack would invariably kill civilians for the ostensible purpose of showing the Syrian government that killing civilians is wrong.

Credit: Wikipedia

“What we are talking about here is a potential response . . . to this specific violation of international norms,” declared White House press secretary Jay Carney. But a military intervention by the United States in Syria to punish the government would violate international law.

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American Hero Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years

August 21, 2013 by Source

Bradley ManningComparisons between WikiLeaks and Pentagon Papers cases raise serious questions about government and judicial discretion.

By David Gespass/Military Law Task Force

Today, Bradley Manning was sentenced to thirty-five years for the “crime” of revealing the seamy underside of US diplomacy and war-making. The sentence is substantially less than sixty years the prosecution asked for, but greater than what the defense requested. It was predicated on alleged damage done to the US, though it remains unclear what actual damage, aside from embarrassment, occurred.

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