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2010 April 5 | Activist News
Disobey

The Road to World War 3

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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »

greed3

U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

jeff olsen

Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »

freedom-of-the-press

The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

Daily Archives: April 5, 2010

Obama Gives Key Agriculture Post to Monsanto Man

by Gary Ruskin
Global Research, April 5, 2010
Green Change – 2010-03-27


Today, President Obama announced that he will recess appoint Islam A. Siddiqui to the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.


Siddiqui is a pesticide lobbyist and Vice President for Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America, an agribusiness lobbying group that represents Monsanto.


Following is a letter sent by 98 organizations to U.S. Senators in opposition to Siddiqui’s appointment, and a fact sheet about him.

Dear Senator:


The following 98 organizations are writing you to express our opposition to the nomination of Islam Siddiqui as Chief Agriculture Negotiator at the office of the United States Trade Representative. Our organizations— representing family farmers, farmworkers, fishers and sustainable agriculture, environmental, consumer, anti-hunger and other advocacy groups—urge you to reject Dr. Siddiqui’s appointment when it comes up for a floor vote, despite the Senate Finance Committee’s favorable report of his nomination on December 23, 2009.


Siddiqui’s record at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and his role as a former registered lobbyist for CropLife America (whose members include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow), has revealed him to consistently favor agribusinesses’ interests over the interests of consumers, the environment and public health (see attached fact sheet). We believe Siddiqui’s nomination severely weakens the Obama Administration’s credibility in promoting healthier and more sustainable local food systems here at home. His appointment would also send an unfortunate signal to the rest of the world that the United States plans to continue down the failed path of high-input and energy-intensive industrial agriculture by promoting toxic pesticides, inappropriate seed biotechnologies and unfair trade agreements on nations that do not want and can least afford them.


The United States urgently needs a trade negotiator who understands that current trade agreements work neither for farmers nor the world’s hungry. With farmers here and abroad struggling to respond to water scarcity and increasingly volatile growing conditions, we need a resilient and restorative model of agriculture that adapts to and mitigates climate change and that moves us towards energy-efficient farming.


The most comprehensive analysis of global agriculture to date, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) states unequivocally that “business as usual is not an option.” We need a new, sustainable model of biodiverse, ecologically-based agriculture that regenerates soil health, sequesters carbon, feeds communities, protects farmworkers and puts profits back in the hands of family farmers and rural communities. Siddiqui’s track record shows that he favors none of these solutions.


We call on the Senate to reject Islam Siddiqui’s nomination and reorient trade policy to serve the interests of family farmers, farmworkers, consumers and the planet.

Sincerely

[List of 98 organizations below.]

Siddiqui and CropLife: Statements and Positions

Islam Siddiqui was nominated by US President Barack Obama to the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the office of the US Trade Representative. He is currently Vice President of Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America. CropLife is an agricultural industry trade group that lobbies on behalf of Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and other pesticide and agricultural biotech corporations.


Siddiqui’s statements and positions—both as a public official and as an industry executive— coupled with CropLife America’s consistent record on public policy issues demonstrate a narrow and short-sighted view of American agriculture and trade interests. This viewpoint consistently places the special interests of large agribusiness above the health and welfare interests the broader public, the international community and the environment.


WHAT DOES SIDDIQUI’S POSITION ENTAIL?

read more at – http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=RUS20100405&articleId=18499

Collateral Murder

Wikileaks

Overview

5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured.

After demands by Reuters, the incident was investigated and the U.S. military concluded that the actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the law of armed conflict and its own “Rules of Engagement”.

Consequently, WikiLeaks has released the classified Rules of Engagement for 2006, 2007 and 2008, revealing these rules before, during, and after the killings.

WikiLeaks has released both the original 38 minutes video and a shorter version with an initial analysis. Subtitles have been added to both versions from the radio transmissions.

WikiLeaks obtained this video as well as supporting documents from a number of military whistleblowers. WikiLeaks goes to great lengths to verify the authenticity of the information it receives. We have analyzed the information about this incident from a variety of source material. We have spoken to witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident.

WikiLeaks wants to ensure that all the leaked information it receives gets the attention it deserves. In this particular case, some of the people killed were journalists that were simply doing their jobs: putting their lives at risk in order to report on war. Iraq is a very dangerous place for journalists: from 2003- 2009, 139 journalists were killed while doing their work.

link – http://collateralmurder.com/en/index.html

Disappeared But Not Forgotten: A Guatemalan Community Achieves a Landmark Verdict

Written by Amanda Kistler
Thursday, 01 April 2010 22:27
Source: NACLA


On August 31, 2009 a tribunal in Chimaltenango, Guatemala, sentenced former military commissioner Felipe Cusanero Coj to 150 years in prison. Cusanero’s conviction for surreptitiously kidnapping and murdering six Guatemalan citizens in the early 1980s, keeping their whereabouts and fate concealed, marks the first time in Guatemalan history that a court has found a member of the military guilty of a crime against humanity. It is also the first time a Guatemalan court has acknowledged the state’s specific use of forced disappearance, which claimed the lives of some 45,000 people during the country’s 36-year internal armed conflict (1960-96), according to the report published by the United Nations-sponsored Truth Clarification Commission (CEH) in 1999.

The effort to bring Cusanero to justice began in 2003, when, after almost two decades of silence, a group of surviving family members from the highland community of Choatalúm dared to do the unthinkable: They publicly denounced Cusanero and took him to court. Before then, continuing threats of disappearance and lists of suspected subversives compiled by the military had prevented people from coming forward. There was a shift, however, with the publication of two truth commission reports in 1998 and 1999, together with two national cases in 2000 and 2001 accusing former dictators Romeo Lucas García and José Efrain Ríos Montt, respectively, of committing acts of genocide during the conflict, along with their highest military commanders. In 2003, as Ríos Montt campaigned for president despite these allegations, the Choatalúm victims and their lawyers from the Center for Human Rights Legal Action (CALDH) chose to act.

Like many predominantly indigenous Guatemalan villages, Choatalúm–a community of more than 500 Maya Kaqchiquel families in San Martin Jilotepeque municipality, in the department of Chimaltenango-came under attack during the army’s intensely violent counterinsurgency campaign begun in September 1981 under Lucas García and continued until October 1982 by Ríos Montt. The army committed hundreds of massacres during the scorched-earth campaign, targeting civilians in the countryside to eliminate support for the guerrillas. Chimaltenango saw the fourth-highest percentage of human rights violations during the conflict, with San Martin Jilotepeque being one of the most affected municipalities, according to the CEH.

Most of the Choatalúm community, like hundreds of thousands of other displaced indigenous peasants in Guatemala during this time, fled into the mountains. Many had returned by 1982, when Choatalúm was converted into a “model village”–that is, a military colony-under Ríos Montt’s “rifles and beans” program, aimed at “pacifying” high land villages by providing food to communities that pledged their allegiance to the military and threatening anyone else with death. Model village inhabitants were subjected to heightened surveillance, being required to live in specific areas and to publicly present themselves when traveling. Men in the communities were forced to join Civil Self-Defense Patrols (PACs) and sent to patrol for guerrillas, serving as a kind of human shield against insurgent attacks.

Within the militarized structure of model villages, military commissioners were the lowest-ranked army officials, yet they exercised almost unlimited power at the local level and held command responsibility over the PACs. They organized and controlled the civilian population, as well as local authorities, providing intelligence to the army’s central command. Cusanero, a longtime Choatalúm resident, was military commissioner of the town during the internal armed conflict. He worked out of an army base installed on a hill in the center of the town, where, according to witness testimonies at the trial, rape, torture, and summary executions took place. Forced disappearance was one of the key tactics employed by the army to root out suspected guerrilla sympathizers in the model villages.

After the case against Cusanero was filed, it was mired for five years in the investigation phase handled by the public prosecutor (where most legal proceedings stagnate or dissolve). Public hearings finally opened in March 2008. Within weeks, Cusanero’s public defender introduced a legal stay, arguing that the case violated Guatemala’s constitutional law against retroactive prosecution, since the crime was committed well before 1996, when forced disappearance was formally outlawed in Guatemala. The hearings were suspended for 14 months (beyond the maximum length of time stipulated in the Penal Code) until July 7, when the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest, overruled the defense, declaring that forced disappearance could be tried today because the crime continues to be committed, since none of the victim’s remains have been located. “It is not when the crime began,” the court ruled, “but when it stops being committed.”

The 10 witnesses in the Choatalúam case testified despite receiving threats both during and after the trial. Cusanero’s lawyer accused them of outright lying and even argued that Cusanero had never been a military commissioner–a statement that caused many in the packed courtroom to visibly cringe. Men who were forced to serve in the PAC under Cusanero’s command hissed their contempt. When the judge later announced that the witnesses’ testimonies were considered “trustworthy and effective,” the whole room seemed to exhale. Heads turned in the audience as those who had testified sought the eyes of others in affirmation. Many blinked back tears. Handkerchiefs were pressed to noses.

read more athttp://upsidedownworld.org/main/guatemala-archives-33/2429-disappeared-but-not-forgotten-a-guatemalan-community-achieves-a-landmark-verdict-

UN’s Ban calls Aral Sea ‘shocking disaster’

By JIM HEINTZ, Associated Press Writer
Sun Apr 4, 6:22 pm ET

NUKUS, Uzbekistan – The drying up of the Aral Sea is one of the planet’s most shocking environmental disasters, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Sunday as he urged Central Asian leaders to step up efforts to solve the problem.
Once the world’s fourth-largest lake, the sea has shrunk by 90 percent since the rivers that feed it were largely diverted in a Soviet project to boost cotton production in the arid region.

link – http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100404/ap_on_re_as/as_un_central_asia

Length of Long-Term Unemployment Reaches Record High

Noel Brinkerhoff
AllGov.com
Sunday, April 04, 2010

The best news the government has to offer for the 15 million Americans looking for work is that unemployment has leveled off at 9.7% and is likely to remain around that level for the rest of the year. The fact that the jobless pool won’t grow more in size is little comfort, though, for those who have remained unemployed for a year, two years, even more.

The latest figures show the average length of time jobless Americans have been out of work has reached 31.2 weeks—the longest average jobless period since the government began collecting such data in 1948. In March, 44% of unemployed Americans had been without a job for at least 27 weeks. A year ago that figure was less than 25%.
It is estimated that more than half of the unemployed were permanently laid off from their previous jobs, meaning they have little or no chance of returning to their old work. The longer these people stay out of work the more likely they will remain that way, because they are unable to adapt to changes in the economy or potential employers will be scared off by the holes in applicants’ resumes.
The Long-Term Unemployed (by Catherine Rampell, New York Times)
Signaling Jobs Recovery, Payrolls Surged in March (by Catherine Rampell and Javier Hernandez, New York Times)
The Growing Underclass: Jobs Gone Forever (by Catherine Rampell, New York Times)


link – http://www.allgov.com/Top_Stories/ViewNews/Length_of_Long_Term_Unemployment_Reaches_Record_High_100404

U.S. Admits Role in February Killing of Afghan Women

Ny Times
By Richard A. Oppel Jr
April 4, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — After initially denying involvement or any cover-up in the deaths of three Afghan women during a badly bungled American Special Operations assault in February, the American-led military command in Kabul admitted late on Sunday that its forces had, in fact, killed the women during the nighttime raid.

The admission immediately raised questions about what really happened during the Feb. 12 operation — and what falsehoods followed — including a new report that Special Operations forces dug bullets out of the bodies of the women to hide the true nature of their deaths.
link – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/05/world/asia/05afghan.html?ref=world