Tag Archives | Human Rights

Google Becomes Ministry of Truth

Carlos Luna (CC BY 2.0)

Carlos Luna (CC BY 2.0)

There’s no way this can go horribly wrong, right?

Jon Rappoport via War is Crime:

“…if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth.” (George Orwell,1984)

The New Scientist has the stunning story (2/28/15, “Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links,” by Hal Hodson):

“The internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free ‘news’ stories spread like wildfire. Google has devised a fix — rank websites according to their truthfulness.”

Great idea, right? Sure it is.

The author of the article lets the cat out of the bag right away with his comment about “anti-vaccination” websites. These sites will obviously be shoved into obscurity by Google because they’re “garbage”…whereas “truthful” pro-vaccine sites will dominate top ranked pages on the search engine.

This is wonderful if you believe what the CDC tells you about vaccine safety and efficacy.

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Amnesty International World Report: 2014 a ‘Year of Regression’

Via Hetq:

Amnesty International’s report for 2014 has condemned the response of the international community to worsening human rights abuses across the globe.

Amnesty, which released its annual report yesterday, said last year marked a nadir in the global state of human rights that was not due simply to a stalling of progress, but a “regression”.

The report is highly critical of Azerbaijan’s government over its silencing of critics, particularly the currently-jailed OCCRP and Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty journalist Khadija Ismayilova, whom Amnesty has named a prisoner of conscience. Ismayilova was targeted by authorities after publishing investigations into corruption amongst the oil-rich country’s political elite.

More generally, the report decries the widespread harassment of independent journalists in Azerbaijan that culminated in a raid on the Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty offices by the Prosecutor’s office in December 2014.

Russia’s crackdown on freedom of expression also came under fire.

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Chicago Police Detain Americans at Abuse-Laden ‘Black Site’

Spencer Ackerman writes at the Guardian:

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.
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Jailed Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Wins Battle to Receive Hormone Therapy

Pfc. Chelsea Manning in this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Army. Defense Department officials say hormone treatment for gender reassignment has been approved for Chelsea Manning, the former intelligence analyst convicted of espionage for sending classified documents to the WikiLeaks website. (Photo: U.S. Army/File)

Pfc. Chelsea Manning in this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Army. Defense Department officials say hormone treatment for gender reassignment has been approved for Chelsea Manning, the former intelligence analyst convicted of espionage for sending classified documents to the WikiLeaks website. (Photo: U.S. Army/File)

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

Chelsea Manning, the U.S. Army whistleblower who leaked thousands of internal military and State Department documents to help expose wrongdoing by the U.S. government, will receive the hormone treatment she has been fighting to receive since she was first sent to Ft. Leavenworth prison in 2013.

Manning is serving a 35-year sentence for releasing, among other materials, video footage of U.S. soldiers gunning down civilians from a helicopter in Iraq in 2007. Following her conviction, Manning came out publicly as transgender and soon upon her arrival at Ft. Leavenworth requested that she been given the hormone therapy which the medical community officially agrees is essential to her health and well-being.

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A ‘Lively’ Day at Monsanto Headquarters

Via Alexis Baden-Mayer at Organic Consumers Association

On January 30, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) joined Moms Across America (MAA), SumofUs, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Harrington Investments and GMO Free Midwest in a protest and confrontation at Monsanto’s annual shareholder meeting.

The meeting was held at Monsanto corporate headquarters outside St. Louis, Mo., in a town called Creve Coeur—which in French means Broken Heart.

It’s a fitting name for the location of a company that has caused so much heartache with its toxic chemicals.

OCA’s mission on January 30 was to let Monsanto know, in no uncertain terms, that its so-called science—bought and paid for with dirty corporate money—is no match for the research being conducted by honest, independent scientists. And that research is clear: Monsanto is making us sick.

OCA launched our “Monsanto Makes Us Sick” with speeches by medical doctors Jeff Ritterman and Norm Shealy who summed up the scientific case against Monsanto’s flagship product, Roundup herbicide.

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President Obama Just Renewed the Drug War

Cannabis Culture (CC BY 2.0)

Cannabis Culture (CC BY 2.0)

Via Mike Adams at High Times

The Obama Administration has officially renewed the War on Drugs. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget plan released earlier this week, shows, despite the illusion of the puppet show in the nation’s capital working to reform failed drug policies, the master is hell bent on spending more money than ever to protect America against the wrath of controlled substances.

Although the President, at times, displays a progressive attitude in regards to making changes to the drug laws in the United States, this sentiment was not represented on Monday when he requested $27.6 billion to combat the domestic drug war – nearly $2 billion more than was allotted in 2014.

The White House calls the strategy behind this madness a “21st century approach to drug policy that outlines innovative policies and programs and recognizes that substance use disorders are not just a criminal justice issue, but also a major public health concern,” and suggests it is “an evidence-based plan for real drug policy reform, spanning the spectrum of prevention, early intervention, treatment, recovery support, criminal justice reform, effective law enforcement, and international cooperation.”

However, the scam is revealed in the numbers.

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Illinois Governor Awards Medical Marijuana Licenses

Ian Sane (CC BY 2.0)

Ian Sane (CC BY 2.0)

February 2, 2015 by Carla K. Johnson via The Cannabist:

CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner awarded licenses Monday to dozens of medical marijuana businesses across the state after conducting an internal review that found flaws in the never-completed license award process under former Gov. Pat Quinn.

Letters to 18 winning cultivation centers and 52 retail shops were sent out Monday afternoon, Rauner spokesman Lance Trover told The Associated Press. In eight districts, Rauner delayed the licenses for further review, leaving those jurisdictions awaiting word on which companies will be able to join what could be a $36 million industry in 2016.

“I believe the right companies were rewarded,” said Tim McGraw, CEO of ACE Revolution Cannabis, which won licenses to build marijuana-growing facilities in the Illinois cities of Delavan and Barry. “We’re excited to get to work to bring safe medicine to the patients of Illinois.”

Letters sent to the cultivation center winners from the Department of Agriculture inform them of a number of conditions.

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Software That Helps Businesses Rid Their Supply Chains of Slave Labor

Daniel Oines (CC BY 2.0)

Daniel Oines (CC BY 2.0)

Issie Lapowsky writes at Wired:

Steve Jobs helped convince Justin Dillion he could change the way some of the world’s biggest companies do business.

It was 2008, and Dillon, a musician turned anti-forced labor activist, had just launched an online campaign called Chain Store Reaction that asked everyday consumers to write letters to their favorite companies, urging them to eradicate forced labor in their supply chains. On a whim, Dillon dashed off an email to Jobs, asking if the iPhone was made of tantalum, a material used to make mobile phones, that had been mined by forced labor. Dillon never expected a response, but four hours later, he got one. It looked like this:

I have no idea. I’ll look into it.

Steve
Sent from my iPhone

It was then that Dillion and his colleagues realized that his project might actually work. “We were like: ‘This isn’t that hard.

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War Is the New Normal

Moyan Brenn (CC BY 2.0)

Moyan Brenn (CC BY 2.0)

Via William J. Astore at TomDispatch:

It was launched immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when I was still in the military, and almost immediately became known as the Global War on Terror, or GWOT.  Pentagon insiders called it “the long war,” an open-ended, perhaps unending, conflict against nations and terror networks mainly of a radical Islamist bent.  It saw the revival of counterinsurgency doctrine, buried in the aftermath of defeat in Vietnam, and a reinterpretation of that disaster as well.  Over the years, its chief characteristic became ever clearer: a “Groundhog Day” kind of repetition.  Just when you thought it was over (Iraq, Afghanistan), just after victory (of a sort) was declared, it began again.

Now, as we find ourselves enmeshed in Iraq War 3.0, what better way to memorialize the post-9/11 American way of war than through repetition.  Back in July 2010, I wrote an article for TomDispatch on the seven reasons why America can’t stop making war.  More than four years later, with the war on terror still ongoing, with the mission eternally unaccomplished, here’s a fresh take on the top seven reasons why never-ending war is the new normal in America.  In this sequel, I make only one promise: no declarations of victory (and mark it on your calendars, I’m planning to be back with seven new reasons in 2019).

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The loneliness of the long-distance drone pilot

Aaron Sankin via The Kernel:

Bruce Black had been preparing for this moment for most of his life.

Growing up, he always wanted to be a pilot. After graduating from New Mexico State University in 1984 with a degree in geology, Black was commissioned as an officer in the Air Force. He spent years as an instructor pilot before quitting to join the FBI, where he specialized in chasing down white-collar criminals, but the pull of military was too strong. He eventually found himself in the air above Afghanistan.

Black flew constantly. Once, in the spring of 2007, Black’s job was to serve as another set of eyes high above a firefight happening on the ground. An Army convoy had been patrolling near a site of a previous strike and gotten ambushed by Taliban fighters while returning to base. Black was acting as a crucial communications relay, sending life-and-death updates back and forth from the men and women on the ground to the Pentagon and a network of support staff located around the world through the military’s version of the Internet.

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