Palestinian flag in occupied palestine

Artists And Authors Sign Statement Against Israel’s Attack on Palestinian Organizations

Israel has launched an unprecedented attack on Palestinian human rights organizations designating many as “terrorist” groups.

By DiEM25

Over the past two weeks, Israel has launched an unprecedented and blanket attack on Palestinian human rights defenders beginning with the designation, on 19 October 2021, of six leading Palestinian human rights organizations as “terrorist” groups.

The organizations include: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq), Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).

Still, despite international condemnation by the UN, international human rights groups, and government officials, the Israeli occupation has doubled down in their crackdown and issued a military order that outlaws, entirely, the six Palestinian organizations in the West Bank.

The designations target six of the most eminent Palestinian human rights defenders engaged in critical human rights work and cover all aspects of civil society in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Addameer serves as one of the biggest organizations providing direct legal support to Palestinian political prisoners.

Al-Haq, the oldest human rights organization both in Palestine and Middle East, extensively documents international humanitarian law and international human rights law violations in the occupied territory, specializing in individual and corporate accountability. Bisan Center produces extensive research and development reports in support of the poor and marginalized communities.

DCI-P is a local affiliate of an international human rights organization that works to protect the rights of Palestinian children. The UAWC supports thousands of Palestinian farmers and their families amid the encroachment and violence of illegal Israeli settlements. The UPWC is a feminist, progressive, and grassroots organization that aims to empower Palestinian women.

The vital work of these six organizations to protect and empower Palestinians and hold Israel accountable for its gross human rights violations and apartheid regime of institutionalized racial discrimination is precisely the work that Israel is trying to end. Israel’s designation of these six Palestinian organizations as “terrorist” groups, and the military order that outlaws them places the safety of the organizations and their staff at imminent risk.

The military order allows for Israeli occupation forces to raid their offices, forcibly shut them down, arbitrarily arrest their staff to be tried under Israeli military courts, and institute other reprisals including travel bans and residency revocations against their members.

The threat of retaliation is real, and puts at risk not just the organizations themselves, but the entire Palestinian civil society and the tens of thousands of Palestinians they serve everyday. To this end, we call on all persons of conscience across the globe to stand with us. We call on the international community to #StandWithThe6 and protect Palestinian human rights defenders, and demand that Israel rescind the terrorist designations immediately.

This statement is supported by more than 100 signatories. The full list is below:

  1. Kevin Macdonald, film director, UK
  2. Peter Gabriel, musician, founder, Womad Festival, UK
  3. Mike Leigh, film director, UK
  4. Jodie Evans, film producer, USA
  5. Robert Wyatt, musician, UK
  6. Alfreda Benge, artist, UK
  7. Aki Kaurismaki, film director, Finland
  8. Liam Cunningham, actor, Ireland
  9. Susan Sarandon, actor, USA
  10. Ece Temelkuran, author, Turkey
  11. Tilda Swinton, actor, UK
  12. Jim Jarmusch, film director, USA
  13. Laura Poitras, film director, USA
  14. Simon Fisher Turner, musician, UK
  15. Iciar Bollain, film director, Spain
  16. Kleber Mendonça Filho, film director, Brasil
  17. Julie Christie, actor, UK
  18. V (formerly known as Eve Ensler), Playwright, USA
  19. Mark Ruffalo, actor, USA
  20. Philip Pullman, author, UK
  21. Stephen Dillane, actor, UK
  22. Brian Eno, artist, UK
  23. Roger Waters, musician, UK
  24. Ken Loach, film director, UK
  25. Paul Laverty, writer, UK
  26. Yann Martel, author, Canada
  27. AL Kennedy, author, UK
  28. Naomi Klein, author, Canada
  29. Robert Guediguian, film director, France
  30. Asif Kapadia, film director, UK
  31. Juliet Stevenson, actor, UK
  32. Yanis Varoufakis, author, Greece
  33. Peter Kosminsky, film director, UK
  34. Titi Robin, musician, France
  35. Etienne Balibar, philosopher, France
  36. Harriet Walter, actor, UK
  37. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, film director, Thailand
  38. Bella Freud, artist, UK
  39. David Michôd, film director, Australia
  40. Claire Foy, actor, UK
  41. Mark Rylance, actor, UK
  42. Alfonso Cuaron, film director, Mexico
  43. Thurston Moore, musician, USA
  44. Jeremy Deller, artist, UK
  45. Kamila Shamsie, author, UK
  46. Monica Ali, author, UK
  47. Eric Cantona, actor, France
  48. Phil Manzanera, musician, UK
  49. Laurie Anderson, artist, USA
  50. Michèle Gavras, producer, France
  51. Annemarie Jacir, film director, Palestine
  52. Costa Gavras, film director, Greece
  53. Juan Diego Botto, actor and playwright, Spain
  54. Alberto San Juan, actor and playwright, Spain
  55. Carlos Bardem, actor and writer, Spain
  56. Residente (René Pérez), singer, artist, writer, film director, Puerto Rico
  57. Irvine Welsh, author, UK
  58. Tunde Adebimpe, musician, USA
  59. David Byrne, musician, USA
  60. Ohal Grietzer, musician, Israel
  61. Tai Shani, visual artist, UK
  62. Hany Abu-Assad, film director, Palestine
  63. Simon Pegg, actor, UK
  64. David Mitchell, author, UK
  65. Mira Nair, film director, India
  66. Jarvis Cocker, musician, UK
  67. Fisher Stevens, director, USA
  68. Leopoldo Gout, artist, USA
  69. Julio Pérez del Campo, film director, Spain
  70. Alain Damasio, author, France
  71. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, choreographer, Belgium
  72. Joe Sacco, comic book artist and journalist, USA
  73. Mercè Sampietro, actor, Spain
  74. Ian McEwan, author, UK
  75. Colm Tóibín, author, Ireland
  76. Elaine Mokhtefi, translator, USA
  77. Madeleine Thien, author, Canada
  78. Eliot Weinberger, author, USA
  79. Sabrina Mahfouz, playwright and poet, UK
  80. Joel Beinin, professor, USA
  81. Omar Robert Hamilton, author, UK
  82. John Oakes, publisher, USA
  83. Mary Jane Nealon, poet, USA
  84. Rachel Kushner, author, USA
  85. Lina Meruane, author, Chile
  86. Naomi Wallace, playwright, USA
  87. Rashid Khalidi, author, Palestine
  88. Ben Ehrenreich, author, USA
  89. Adam Shatz, Writer, London Review of Books, USA
  90. Farid Matuk, poet, USA
  91. Michel Moushabeck, publisher, USA
  92. Eileen Myles, poet, USA
  93. Lila Abu-Lughod, Professor, USA
  94. Natalie Diaz, poet, USA
  95. Andrew Ross, New York University, USA
  96. Zeina Azzam, poet, USA
  97. Bernardine Dohrn, human rights advocate, USA
  98. Molly Crabapple, author, USA
  99. Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor at Columbia University, USA
  100. Bruce Robbins, author, USA
  101. Shuchi Saraswat, author, USA
  102. James Schamus, screenwriter and producer, USA
  103. nancy kricorian, Writer, USA
  104. Jacqueline Rose, author, UK
  105. Andrew O’Hagan, author, UK
  106. Hannah Khalil, playwright, Palestine
  107. Ritu Menon, publisher, India
  108. Janne Teller, author, Denmark
  109. Nicholas Blincoe, author, UK
  110. Rick Simonson, Bookseller, USA
  111. Brigid Keenan, author, UK
  112. Massive Attack, music band
  113. Richard Gere, actor


black lives matter sign and judge with gavel

New Report Exposes Systemic Racism In U.S. Legal System

Systemic racism in the legal system exposed in new report by the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation.

By Anna Shen, Inter Press Service

Once again, the U.S. faces a test case along racial lines. Will the courts mete out justice in the case of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by three white men while jogging in Georgia?

The case is one in a long line of prominent trials with similar racial undertones, highlighting the divide in America’s legal system when it comes to race. Recent cases with mixed and highly charged verdicts include: George FloydTrayvon MartinWalter Scott, and Breonna Taylor.

Despite widespread attention — the national movement of Black Lives Matter, widespread protests, and federal laws intended to provide equal access — systemic racism in the legal system is flagrant and persistent. Put simply, it must be eradicated, said a new report by the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation.

Tackling the ugly truths about the US legal system from all angles – within law school, legal practices, the judicial system, legislation, and representation — the 100-plus page report contains deep insights on the situation in America.

A few pressing questions in the report: How does cash bail punish the poor and impact society at large? How are law school admissions and standardized tests biased? Why are there so few Black partners in law firms? What about women in law?

Twelve LexisNexis Foundation Rule of Law Fellows from the company’s African Ancestry Network (AAN) produced the report, with a goal of shedding light on the underlying causes of racism in the legal system.

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Law School Consortium joined forces with LexisNexis to award the fellowships, a commitment to eliminate systemic racism in legal systems and foster diversity and inclusion within the company. It is also an acknowledgement of LexisNexis’ membership in the UN Global Compact.

A few of the topics included:

Cash Bail

Minorities are disproportionately jailed due to an inability to pay bail fees, according to the report. Those held in pretrial detention are presumed innocent but are incarcerated until they “purchase their freedom.” The cash bail system — ineffective as a crime deterrent — also penalizes the poor. Many cannot afford to pay, no matter how small the amount. What if the person held is a single parent who loses their job and then can’t pay their rent? The report proposes alternatives such as a model legislative bill that sets conditions for a detainee’s release, as well as an Equality Bail Fund supported by corporations, non-profits, and other.

Bankruptcy

African Americans are more likely advised to file Chapter 13 than Chapter 7. Chapter 7 discharges debts within six months and requires attorneys’ fees up front. Chapter 13 attorneys’ fees are paid over time, debts are not typically discharged, and can take up to five years to settle. The report discussed providing tools to reduce racial bias in bankruptcy, and educating attorneys to provide effective advice.

Law School Admissions

The legal profession is one of the least diverse fields in America, according to the report. This inequality is due to the dominance of the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), its flawed logic, and the institutional racism that it creates. The report recommends wider selection criteria than the LSAT’s quantitative measures. For example, adding criteria based on leadership, community involvement, and overcoming adversity.

Law Firms

Black lawyers account for slightly over 10 percent of partners at major U.S. law firms, according to the report. Lawyers leave firms due to retention and promotion issues, isolation, lack of guidance, and little professional growth. The report proposes diversity training, championing diverse leaders, and metrics-based approaches to diversity.

Women

Black women attorneys are vastly underrepresented in law firm leadership across the US. How can this be changed? Amplifying their voices, as well as fostering the conditions that help attain partnership can combat underrepresentation.

Access

Consider that less than 6 percent of lawyers are Black, yet they represent over 13 percent of the total U.S. population. Access to a legal education and to the tools needed to become successful in the legal field are different for minorities as for their white counterparts, said the report.

In conclusion, the link between ending systemic racism in the legal system and the mission to advance the rule of law is clear: equal treatment under the law. “When the legal process treats parties unequally in the application of laws, there is an inherent lack of fairness in the system,” said Ian McDougall, President of LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation.

Join The Bridge Project

The Bridge Project is an inside-outside solidarity building project. Participants gather on the last Saturday of each month for political education and prisoner correspondence.


tax cut for the rich, the word tax is cut in half above a giant mansion

Corporate Dems Add $285 Billion Tax Cut For Rich To Build Back Better

“The whole initiative seems deliberately sculpted to hand the American right a weapon to bludgeon Democrats ahead of the election.”

By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

A $285 billion tax cut that would predominantly flow to rich households is now the second most expensive component of the Build Back Better Act after corporate Democrats succeeded in slashing funding for a number of key progressive priorities—and removing other programs entirely.

With the House of Representatives preparing to vote later this week on the roughly $1.8 trillion reconciliation package, the Washington Post reported Tuesday that Democrats’ plan to raise the cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions from $10,000 to $80,000 through 2026 would be “more costly than establishing a paid family and medical leave program, and nearly twice as expensive as funding home-medical services for the elderly and disabled.”

“Over the next five years, raising the SALT cap would provide a tax cut only to those who itemize their taxes and pay more than $10,000 in state and local taxes—a group overwhelmingly made up of the wealthy,” the Post noted. “A recent analysis from the Tax Policy Center says the tax cut will benefit primarily the top 10% of income earners, with almost nothing flowing to middle- and lower-income families.”

The only part of the Build Back Better package that’s currently larger than the proposed SALT cap increase is the legislation’s universal pre-K and affordable child care programs, both of which progressive critics warn are deeply flawed and have been pared back in recent weeks to appease right-wing Democrats.

“As the Build Back Better bill makes its way through Congress, significant changes are being made to the various proposals, generally for the worse,” Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project noted last week. “Hollowed-out versions of older proposals are limping to the finish line and it’s a completely different bill at this point.”

The proposal to lift the SALT cap—which was created by the GOP’s 2017 tax law—was added to the reconciliation package largely at the behest of a small group of corporate Democrats who threatened to tank any bill that omitted an increase.

“No SALT, no deal,” Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) said in a recent statement, a message that other right-wing Democrats readily echoed.

Last month, after President Joe Biden privately floated leaving SALT changes out of the reconciliation package, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reportedly intervened to rescue the tax break, which one analysis estimates will deliver an average tax cut of $16,760 to U.S. millionaires.

Outraged by the SALT proposal’s regressivity, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told reporters on Tuesday that he’s currently working on a compromise plan that would limit the provision’s benefits for the wealthy.

“I am working with some of my colleagues to make sure that we come up with a proposal that protects the middle class, but does not end up with an overall reconciliation bill in which millionaires are better off tax-wise than they were under [former President Donald] Trump,” said Sanders, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee.

Progressives have also raised alarm over the political toxicity of handing rich households a major tax cut in a bill that’s ostensibly dedicated to combating the climate crisis, improving the nation’s tattered social safety net, and finally making the wealthy pay their fair share.

“After Democrats gutted their wildly popular initiatives to expand Medicare and lower drug prices, the tax initiative has now become one of the most expensive provisions in the entire Build Back Better legislation,” The Daily Poster‘s David Sirota wrote Tuesday. “The whole initiative seems deliberately sculpted to hand the American right a weapon to bludgeon Democrats ahead of the election.”

Right-wing groups are already attempting to do just that. On Tuesday, Heritage Action announced a $1.25 million ad buy targeting Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Jared Golden (D-Maine), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), and Susie Lee (D-Nev.) over the SALT provision.

“Their latest plan is to give $200 billion in blue state bailouts to their rich friends at the expense of all other Americans,” declares the ad, which will run on television and online.

Watch the spot focused on Congressman Golden and aimed at Maine voters:

In an email on Tuesday, the Patriotic Millionaires—a group that supports higher taxes on the rich—argued that “the last people who need government assistance right now are the well-off taxpayers who would be most affected by” the SALT cap change.

“Wealthy Americans already have so many advantages over everyone else—it is high time that we pay more, not less, in taxes,” the group wrote. “This choice isn’t happening in a vacuum. Democrats have already cut trillions of dollars of vital aid for American families from their reconciliation plan. Adding a significant tax cut for the wealthiest Americans on top of this would be adding insult to injury.”


fighter jet wasting money

Bernie Sanders Votes Against $778 Billion Pentagon War Budget

“Isn’t it strange how even as we end the longest war in our nation’s history concerns about the deficit and national debt seem to melt away under the influence of the powerful military-industrial complex?”

By Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams

On Tuesday, the eve of a likely U.S. Senate vote on the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he would vote against the legislation because it enriches the military-industrial complex at the expense of desperately needed social programs and climate action.

“Many of my colleagues tell the American people, day after day, how deeply concerned they are about the deficit and the national debt,” Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement. “They tell us that we just don’t have enough money to expand Medicare, guarantee paid family and medical leave, and address the climate crisis to the degree that we should if we want to protect the well-being of future generations.”

“Yet, tomorrow, the U.S. Senate will be voting on an annual defense budget that costs $778 billion—$37 billion more than [former President Donald] Trump’s last defense budget and $25 billion more than what President [Joe] Biden requested,” he continued. “All this for an agency, the Department of Defense, that continues to have massive fraud and cost overruns year after year and is the only major government agency not to successfully complete an independent audit.”

“Isn’t it strange,” added Sanders, “how even as we end the longest war in our nation’s history concerns about the deficit and national debt seem to melt away under the influence of the powerful military-industrial complex?”

Sanders has frequently noted that the United States spends more on its military than the next 10 nations combined.

The NDAA is not a spending bill but rather a policy measure; a separate appropriations bill would need to be passed in order to implement the $37 billion increase.

In September, the House voted 316-113 to approve a $778 billion military budget for fiscal year 2022. While every Republican lawmaker voted against a pair of amendments that would have cut the Pentagon budget, their Democratic colleagues were evenly split on the measures.

Common Dreams reported that Democrats who voted against a proposed amendment by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) to slash 10% from the military budget received, on average, nearly four times more campaign contributions from weapons-makers than their colleagues who voted for the measure.

While Sanders has faced backlash in Vermont and beyond for helping to bring Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets—at $1.5 trillion, the most expensive weapons program in U.S. history—to his home state, the democratic socialist has been a consistent voice for reducing military spending and has called for auditing the Pentagon and for ending or avoiding overseas wars.

Sanders further criticized the 2022 NDAA for an amendment—the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act—aimed at countering the rise of China, as well as for containing “$52 billion in corporate welfare, with no strings attached, for a handful of extremely profitable microchip companies.”

“This bill also contains a $10 billion handout to Jeff Bezos for space exploration,” he noted, referring to the Amazon.com founder’s Blue Origin private orbital tourism venture.

“Combining these two pieces of legislation would push the price tag of the defense bill to over $1 trillion—with very little scrutiny,” Sanders continued. “Meanwhile, the Senate has spent month after month discussing the Build Back Better Act and whether we can afford to protect the children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and the future of our planet.”

“As a nation, we need to get our priorities right,” he added. “I will vote ‘no’ on the National Defense Authorization Act.”


climate crisis protest signs

World Governments Won't Fix The Climate Crisis On Their Own

Thank climate activists for the fact that any progress was made in Glasgow. Unless we push hard, powerful interests don’t budge.

By Bill McKibben, The Guardian

It was inspiring to watch activists – especially young people and those from the global south – as this Glasgow Cop limped towards its mushy end. They were on top of every twist in the text, and they won significant concessions from the big polluting countries. At the time of writing, it looks as if the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels will be mentioned in a Cop document for the first time, and that there will be more money for nations of the global south to “adapt” to the climate crisis. The activists’ anger echoed through the halls, and was heard in whatever parts of the world were listening. To the extent that this Cop worked at all, it’s a tribute to their perseverance and creativity.

But was this a sea change in the way we deal with the global climate crisis? No –Glasgow moves us down the track a little and boxes in national governments a little more, but it has changed not nearly enough. After 26 iterations, the truth about these Cops is pretty clear: the results are largely determined before they even begin. Yes, there’s an endless succession of concerts, marches, seminars, negotiating sessions, speeches, ultimatums, declarations, photo-ops; and yes, everyone works hard to build a sense of drama (the media especially). But history would suggest that the parties rarely go beyond what they’d intended to do before they arrived.

Read More

billionaire holding a bag of money

The Real Reason It’s So Hard To Tax Billionaires

The real reason it’s hard to tax billionaires is because they’re the ones in charge.

By Christopher Orlet, CounterPunch

A recent NPR story attempted to explain why it is so hard to tax billionaires. The expert NPR interviewed for the story ticked off the usual ways the 1 percent avoids paying its fair share of taxes:

Billionaires have the best accountants who know all the loopholes. Their wealth isn’t in income, but in assets. They often move to states (like Texas) that don’t have a state income tax, and move their money to offshore tax havens. They live off tax free loans. Legislation to tax billionaires goes nowhere because wealthy coal barons like Democratic Senator Joe Manchin don’t believe in taxing the “job creators,” a notion that has been debunked again and again. (Basically a thriving middle class creates jobs, while billionaires invest their profits in real estate.)

billionaire holding a bag of money

What NPR didn’t say, and what the corporate and corporate-sponsored media never say, is that it is hard to tax billionaires because billionaires rule America and they don’t want to be taxed.

“We live in a nation owned and controlled by a small number of multi-billionaires,” says U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Our political system is now “an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery,” says former President Jimmy Carter.

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US fighter jet dropping bombs and an explosion behind it

Report: "Breathtaking Cover-up" Of US Airstrike That Killed Syrian Civilians

“This NYT report on the cover-up of U.S. war crimes in Syria should make your blood boil. The U.S. wantonly kills civilians, covers it up, and then tells other countries how ‘democracy’ works.”

By Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams

Advocacy groups, human rights defenders, fellow reporters, and other readers of The New York Times were outraged Saturday after journalists Dave Philipps and Eric Schmitt published their investigation into a deadly 2019 U.S. airstrike in Syria and all that followed.

“This NYT report on the cover-up of U.S. war crimes in Syria should make your blood boil,” Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group CodePink, tweeted Sunday. “The U.S. wantonly kills civilians, covers it up, and then tells other countries how ‘democracy’ works. Infuriating.”

US fighter jet dropping bombs and an explosion behind it

Evan Hill, a journalist on the Times‘ visual investigations team, said that “this is a long, complicated story, but it’s one that touches on nearly every problem with the global U.S. air war. At every attempt, the military tried to cover it up.”

The Times began by detailing the scene over two years ago, when the U.S. military was using a drone near the Syrian town of Baghuz to search for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants, and encountered women and children along a river bank:

Without warning, an American F-15E attack jet streaked across the drone’s high-definition field of vision and dropped a 500-pound bomb on the crowd, swallowing it in a shuddering blast. As the smoke cleared, a few people stumbled away in search of cover. Then a jet tracking them dropped one 2,000-pound bomb, then another, killing most of the survivors.

It was March 18, 2019. At the U.S. military’s busy Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, uniformed personnel watching the live drone footage looked on in stunned disbelief, according to one officer who was there.

“Who dropped that?” a confused analyst typed on a secure chat system being used by those monitoring the drone, two people who reviewed the chat log recalled. Another responded, “We just dropped on 50 women and children.”

An initial battle damage assessment quickly found that the number of dead was actually about 70.

After the strike, civilian observers “found piles of dead women and children,” reported Philipps and Schmitt, who spent months investigating one of the largest civilian casualty incidents of the war against ISIS, relying on confidential documents, descriptions of classified reports, and interviews.

“A legal officer flagged the strike as a possible war crime that required an investigation. But at nearly every step, the military made moves that concealed the catastrophic strike,” the pair explained. “The death toll was downplayed. Reports were delayed, sanitized, and classified. United States-led coalition forces bulldozed the blast site. And top leaders were not notified.”

Gene Tate, a former U.S. Navy officer who worked on the Defense Department inspector general’s inquiry into the strike, told the Times that he criticized the lack of action and was ultimately forced out of his position.

“Leadership just seemed so set on burying this. No one wanted anything to do with it,” Tate said. “It makes you lose faith in the system when people are trying to do what’s right but no one in positions of leadership wants to hear it.”

According to Philipps and Schmitt:

This week, after The New York Times sent its findings to U.S. Central Command, which oversaw the air war in Syria, the command acknowledged the strikes for the first time, saying 80 people were killed but the airstrikes were justified. It said the bombs killed 16 fighters and four civilians. As for the other 60 people killed, the statement said it was not clear that they were civilians, in part because women and children in the Islamic State sometimes took up arms.

“We abhor the loss of innocent life and take all possible measures to prevent them,” Capt. Bill Urban, the chief spokesman for the command, said in the statement. “In this case, we self-reported and investigated the strike according to our own evidence and take full responsibility for the unintended loss of life.”

The only assessment done immediately after the strike was performed by the same ground unit that ordered the strike. It determined that the bombing was lawful because it killed only a small number of civilians while targeting Islamic State fighters in an attempt to protect coalition forces, the command said. Therefore no formal war crime notification, criminal investigation, or disciplinary action was warranted, it said, adding that the other deaths were accidental.

Both Tate and an Air Force lawyer—who didn’t respond to the Times‘ requests for comment—reached out to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee to share concerns. Chip Unruh, a spokesperson for the panel’s chair, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), declined to comment on the incident.

However, Unruh told the Times more broadly that “when tragic errors occur on the battlefield, the United States, as the leader of the free world, has an obligation to be transparent, take responsibility, and do everything we can to learn from and prevent future mistakes.”

The “breathtaking cover-up,” as Washington Post investigative reporter Craig Whitlock called it, sparked criticism of the Defense Department as well as demands for accountability and reforms.

Nahal Toosi, senior foreign affairs correspondent at Politico, asked what the point is of having a Defense Department inspector general “if they a) don’t do their job b) never release public reports of what they find in a case like this.”

“This is nothing short of criminal conspiracy,” said Daniel Mahanty of the Center for Civilians in Conflict. “They bulldozed the strike site and manipulated logs. Who is going to jail for this?”

“The U.S. needs to leave Syria ASAP,” declared Trita Parsi, executive vice president at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. “Our military presence there makes us LESS safe!”

CodePink reached the same conclusion of the U.S. presence in the Middle East, tweeting Saturday: “Make no mistake. There will be more of these atrocities and more dirty cover-ups if we if stay. We cannot allow that.”


pipeline under construction

Enbridge To Construct Next Pipeline As Biden, Leaders Do Little At COP26

As leaders at COP26 decry the devastations brought on by climate change, they continue to allow new oil pipelines to be built at home.

By Ryan Black

Enbridge recently completed the Line 3 pipeline, which will carry up to 760,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day. Now, the company is looking to build a pipeline from Houston to Corpus Christi, TX to meet the ramped-up capacity of the Line 3 pipeline. These plans clearly contradict Enbridge’s continued insistence that Line 3 is a replacement pipeline.

The Line 3 tar sands pipeline is already an unconscionable expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when the science is clear: we need to reverse the carbon economy’s growth before it’s too late. Line 3 will result in more carbon emissions than the entire state of Minnesota currently produces, roughly equivalent to building 50 new coal-fired power plants.

pipeline under construction

Enbridge’s announcement that they will further expand their tar sands transportation infrastructure comes at a time when world leaders and grassroots activists are gathered in Glasgow for COP26. Leaders are discussing plans to address climate change, including the phasing out of fossil fuels. Any new pipeline on the Texas coast will no doubt be met with resistance from Gulf South communities, many of whom have been hardest hit by fossil-fueled climate disasters.

Activists Strengthen Calls For Climate Action After COP26

As world leaders wrap up the COP26 conference, climate activists are expressing frustration with their unwillingness to directly confront the fossil fuel industry and are strengthening their calls on the Biden administration to take necessary executive action to address the escalating global crisis.

“So far, the White House has made a series of moves to appease the fossil fuel industry — from continuing to approve new drilling and fracking permits to the failure to intervene to stop the dirty Line 3 and Dakota Access pipelines. The White House has also embraced industry scams such as carbon capture and blue hydrogen, which will only prolong our dependence on fossil fuels.” Mitch Jones, policy director at the national advocacy organization Food and Water Watch, said on Friday.

Build Back Better Includes Coal Subsidies

Biden’s signature legislation, Build Back Better, includes nearly 100 investments in climate action, but progressives know it falls short in addressing some aspects of climate change.

Jones critiqued one of the clear issues: “…the administration’s remaining legislative agenda on climate… would even include subsidies to the coal industry, in the form of lucrative tax breaks for carbon capture schemes that are essentially non-existent.”

Unfortunately, Carbon capture technology is an expensive and inefficient climate solution promoted by the fossil fuel industry.

Jones continued, “Everyone can see that the climate provisions of the Build Back Batter Act have been substantially weakened — and there are still doubts about its final passage nonetheless. But it’s important to understand that the fate of climate action does not rest on a handful of recalcitrant Senators or world leaders. There is plenty that President Biden can and must be doing to promote a safe and livable future. Biden must use his executive authority to stop the expansion of fossil fuels, reject industry-friendly scams, and put the full force of his administration behind a transition off fossil fuels.”

With Enbridge set to construct yet another oil pipeline, activists are increasing the pressure on the Biden Administration to take serious action — especially before, as many expect, the GOP wins the House back in 2022, likely ending all chances for substantial climate action for the next several years.


classic car in cuba under an american cuban flags

The U.S. Is Fueling A November 15 Cuba Protest

The United States is funding a global day of protest against Cuba set for November 15 in cities around the world.

By Rosa Miriam Elizalde, Globetrotter

On September 20, letters began to arrive at eight Cuban municipal or provincial government headquarters announcing the holding of “peaceful” marches on November 15 by a group called Archipiélago. The motivation for these marches was a call for change. The letter was not a formal request to occupy the busiest streets of some cities in Cuba, but rather a notification by the group that they would do so and they also demanded that the authorities provide them with security for these marches. By virtue of Cuban laws and obsessive American support for the marches, the Cuban government denied permission for holding the protests.

Almost two months have passed since these letters were sent, but there are few indications that the march will take place in Cuba. Florida’s propaganda machine assures the opposite and adds that similar marches will take place across more than a hundred cities in the world, a third of them in the United States.

classic car in cuba under an american cuban flags

On November 10, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez warned the diplomatic corps accredited in Havana that the Cuban government “will not tolerate an opposition march” and further said that “Cuba will never allow actions of a foreign government in our territory, trying to destabilize the country,” while referring to the U.S.’s support of these marches. The provocation follows the plot seen many times before. Meanwhile, this march, which has been scheduled for November 15, is not what many hope it will be: a movement for change in Cuba.

The March Is Not Autonomous

Two days after the delivery of the first letter to the authorities, a string of statements by the U.S. officials and members of Congress began pouring in on September 22. Until November 10, there had been several public interventions from Washington or Florida with all kinds of demands and threats to the island’s authorities. No other issue in the U.S. domestic politics, in recent weeks, has received so much attention or been the case of such obsession before these marches.

The spokesman for the U.S. State Department Ned Price issued a statement on October 16 condemning the denial of permission by the Cuban government to hold the march. Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) extended his support for these anti-government protests soon after the news about these marches began circulating, while a couple of top advisers from the Biden administration have threatened more sanctions on the Cuban government for denying permission to hold the march on November 15.

As if that were not enough, more money has been raining in for such efforts against the Cuban government. In September 2021, the Biden administration gave almost 7 million dollars to 12 organizations that almost daily publicize the “civic march for change” in Cuba. Many analysts see the hidden hand of the “color revolutions” in this, which were exported by the West to the Russian periphery.

In addition to “moral,” political and financial support, the U.S. diplomats offer support in many ways to the anti-government movement in Cuba and occasionally serve as chauffeurs to the opposition. The only thing missing in terms of interference is a show like that of the U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who distributed food to anti-government protesters in Independence Square, in the capital of Ukraine, Kiev, in 2013.

The March Is Not Disconnected From Other Processes

The march is just another episode in a more comprehensive strategy. The Biden administration has interpreted the combined effect of the pandemic, the global crisis and the economic blockade—plus the 243 additional measures imposed by the former U.S. President Donald Trump—as exceptional conditions that have hit Cuba even harder. No spies are required to realize that there are more queues, inflation and shortages in a country that has been managing shortages for 60 years, but it is also important to understand that the march does not have popular support within the country. Cuba is returning to normalcy with the opening of flights, families reuniting after being separated for two years, the return of students to schools and the revival of the national economy.

The Group Organizing the March Is Not Peaceful

The private Facebook group listed as the march organizer, Archipiélago, is anything but moderate. A large number of publications by the group support symbolic violence and political disqualification of those who defend the socialist project or celebrate some social achievements in Cuba. The debate in these spaces is not to modify opinions, but to stir up prejudices, instill hatred among Cubans as an exclusive source of legitimacy for a government that has led the country under very difficult conditions.

The repertoire is an unbridled McCarthyism and an inordinate impulse to indulge in stigmatization that are very common communicative practices in the current political climate of the United States, but alien to the political, cultural and idiosyncratic character of Cubans. Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, on November 10, assured that Facebook could be sued for supporting the “dissident movement “ in Cuba, according to Reuters.

The Marches Are Not Synchronous

There is talk of the synchronization of the marches inside and outside of Cuba to promote change. But there is no such thing. In Cuba, there is definitely no atmosphere to support these marches, while the organizers of Florida speak of the participation of people from a hundred cities in the world on November 15, they have not specified the number of people who will do so.

In reality, those willing to participate in this type of anti-Castro chaos are usually few, but that does not matter. On April 30, 2020, an individual opened fire at the Cuban Embassy in Washington with an assault weapon, which led to the recalling of the foreign minister. On the night of July 27, two individuals threw a Molotov cocktail at the Cuban Embassy in Paris.

It’s Not What They Say

The conservative ghost of the far-right that travels the world and arrives in Cuba is not what it seems or what is visible to the naked eye. Behind the “non-violent march” mantra is the long shadow of the life-long reactionaries who now combine economic ultra-liberalism, conservative morality, empty concepts, and creative use of social media. They dream of ending the Cuban Revolution no later than November 15, while leaving a moral question unanswered: How is it possible to talk of a civil, peaceful and independent protest, if Washington is lubricating the route plan of the protest with threats and dollars?


This article was produced by Globetrotter. Rosa Miriam Elizalde is a Cuban journalist and founder of the site Cubadebate. She is vice president of both the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC) and the Latin American Federation of Journalists (FELAP). She has written and co-written several books including Jineteros en la Habana and Our Chavez. She has received the Juan Gualberto Gómez National Prize for Journalism on multiple occasions for her outstanding work. She is currently a weekly columnist for La Jornada of Mexico City.


progressive news roundup

Progressive News Roundup: Establishment Backlash, Militarism And Media

Progressive Hub Roundup

Last week’s election results continue to reverberate. One of the more obscene outcomes is the New York Times demanding that Democrats not challenge oligarchy, and instead find a way to productively make nice with Republicans, if at all possible. Note: it is not possible. But we can appreciate a close reading with our guides Norman Solomon and Jeff Cohen.

All of the stories below highlight important news and analysis that the mainstream routinely fails to provide. We’re confident that reading them will enhance your understanding of our world. That said, as activists have long known, the point isn’t to just understand the world, but to change it. So, each of these stories is accompanied by a quick action opportunity.

progressive news roundup

It’s Time to Rein in the Pentagon’s Yearly Blank Check

Pentagon funding seems to be just about the only thing that Congress is always in agreement on. Changing course would mean real reform and genuine accountability, starting with serious cuts to a budget for which “bloated” is far too kind an adjective.

Despite Failure in Afghanistan, the Pentagon Gets a Bigger Budget

The defeat in Afghanistan offers a chance to rethink America’s war machine, but Congress is on the verge of raising Pentagon spending to $740 billion.

Israel Using Facial Recognition Tech on Palestinians in West Bank

Israeli soldiers have been involved in an organized effort to take photos of Palestinian residents of the West Bank town of Hebron and have even competed with one another to provide the photos for a facial recognition database being used to monitor Palestinians.

Supreme Court Refuses to Protect Your Right to Record Cops

The Supreme Court chose not to take on a pivotal case to protect your right to record police, leaving six states with fewer constitutional rights. For anyone who believes that Black Lives Matter, this is a big deal. Now that cops in six states can get away with blocking your right to film them, we can expect more of this behavior. A chilling reminder that even with the right to film firmly established, police continue to kill unarmed Black people at alarming rates.

The Democrats’ Big Tent Collapses — and Fundraising Drives the Divide

As the dust settles after a bruising election night for Democrats, recriminations are already flying between the progressive and “moderate” wings of the party. While corporate so-called moderates are laying the blame on progressive resistance to passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill without Build Back Better, progressives are pointing out that, again, Democrats have not delivered wins on their most popular policy items.

Thank you for tuning in this week. And before you click to take action, please know that we’re looking to expand the roster of sources we use to compile our stories. We’re especially interested in smaller progressive sources that we might have missed — including those from outside the United States. Got one to share with us? Email us directly.