In One Year #BlackLivesMatter Gets Laws Passed In 24 States

Police Shooting-Missouri Washington Rally

By Staff for Associated Press – Since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, legislators in almost every state have proposed changes to the way police interact with the public. The result: Twenty-four states have passed at least 40 new measures addressing such things as officer-worn cameras, training about racial bias, independent investigations when police use force and new limits on the flow of surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. Despite all that action, far more proposals have stalled or failed, the AP review found. And few states have done anything to change their laws on when police are justified to use deadly force. National civil rights leaders praised the steps taken by states but said they aren’t enough to solve the racial tensions and economic disparities that have fueled protests in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York and elsewhere following instances in which people died in police custody or shootings.

Saudi King Cuts French Vacation Short Due To Protests

Saudi King elevator being taken down

By Holly Ellyatt for Associated Press – The Saudi king’s visit to his family’s French Riviera mansion is over after weeks of controversy surrounding the closure of a public beach during his stay, the top state official in the area said on Monday. Sub-prefect Philippe Castanet said that the small, isolated beach was reopened after the departure Sunday of King Salman following an eight-day stay. Beachgoers had briefly won a halt to the preparations for his arrival, delaying the elevator construction and closure of the beach. Falcou’s group had planned to deliver a petition against the closure on Tuesday, the anniversary of the 1789 abolition of feudalism in France.

Reflections On The 70th Anniversary Of The Atomic Bombings

Bombed Industrial Nagasaki Landscape

By David Krieger for the Nuclear Peace Foundation – On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing some 90,000 people immediately and another 55,000 by the end of 1945. Three days later, the United States dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing some 40,000 people immediately and another 35,000 by the end of 1945. David KriegerIn between these two bombings, on August 8, 1945, the U.S. signed the charter creating the Nuremberg Tribunal to hold Axis leaders to account for crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Under well-established international humanitarian law – the law of warfare – war crimes include using weapons that do not distinguish between civilians and combatants or that cause unnecessary suffering. Because nuclear weapons kill indiscriminately and cause unnecessary suffering by radiation poisoning (among other grotesque consequences), the U.S. was itself in the act of committing war crimes at Hiroshima and Nagasaki while agreeing to hold its defeated opponents in World War II to account for their war crimes.

Japan’s ‘Sacred’ Rice Farmers Await TPP Death Sentence

Japanese rice farmer

By Nicole L Freiner for the Conversation – Rice is one of the five sacred areas of Japanese agriculture (with pork and beef, wheat, barley and sugarcane). To many, especially those living in rural areas, it remains the primary ingredient of the Japanese identity. As one farmer here said, “without rice, there is no Japan; the culture is a rice culture, it is the most basic element.” Japan’s rice farmers have long been the backbone of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. But lately, as their numbers dwindle along with a declining population and demand for rice, this key cultural constituency seems to have lost the strength it once had to demand the government’s support. There are now around 2 million rice farmers in Japan, down from 4 million in 1990 and as many as 12 million in 1960. The US is pushing Japan to increase its duty-free imports of American rice and related products from 10,000 tons a year to 215,000 tons. The US also wants Japan to open up its lands to foreign investment.

A Banker Finally Goes To Jail . . . In The UK

Tom Hayes LIBOR Scandal

By Gavin FinchLiam Vaughan for Bloomberg – Former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. trader Tom Hayes, the first person to stand trial for manipulating Libor, was sentenced to 14 years in prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to rig the benchmark rate. After a week of deliberations, jurors unanimously found that the 35-year-old worked with traders and brokers to game the London interbank offered rate to benefit his own trading positions. Judge Jeremy Cooke’s sentence after the verdict is among the longest for financial crime in the U.K. “Probity and honesty are essential, as is trust. The Libor activities of which you took part in put that in jeopardy,” Cooke said as he handed out the sentence in London Monday. “A message needs to be sent to the world of banking.” Prosecutors said during the nine-week trial that Hayes was the “ringmaster” of a global network of 25 traders and brokers from at least 10 firms who tried to manipulate Libor on an industrial scale. He would bribe, bully, cajole and reward his contacts for their help in skewing the benchmark, used to price more than $350 trillion of financial contracts from mortgages to credit cards and student loans.

Solidarity Action Held In Support Of Unist’ot’en Camp

Solidarity protest with First Nations

By Staff for the Last Real Indians – On July 28th, several dozen Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists took to the streets of Seattle to hold a solidarity action in support of the Unist’ot’en Camp in B.C. Canada. Currently, eleven companies have proposed to build oil and gas pipelines through Unist’ot’en territory from the Tar Sands in Alberta. Additionally, Pacific Northern Gas (Chevron is the majority owner) has proposed to build the Pacific Trails Pipelines which would carry fracked natural gas from the Horn River Basin through Unist’ot’en territory. Activists briefly occupied the Canadian consulate in downtown Seattle and then marched, occupied and picketed Fidality Investments, a major investor in Chevron. Demonstrators were removed from Fidality’s offices by Seattle police, but continued to demonstrate blockading the entrance to Fidaility.

Climate Activist Gets Scott Walker To Pose With Koch Bros Check

Scott Walker with Koch bros check

By Sophia Tesfaye for Salon – It was supposed to be a routine meet-and-greet at a local New Hampshire pizza parlor, but today’s campaign stop turned into a “Punk’d” episode for Republican presidential candidate, Scott Walker, after he was tricked into posing with a phony check from the Koch Brothers made out to him in the amount of $900,000. According to The Guardian’s Sabrina Siddiqui, who shared an image of Walker posing with the prop check, Walker appeared to believe he was posting with a sign that read “Walker 4 President” before the sign was turned to the cameras to expose its true sentimentsAccording to The Guardian’s Sabrina Siddiqui, who shared an image of Walker posing with the prop check, Walker appeared to believe he was posting with a sign that read “Walker 4 President” before the sign was turned to the cameras to expose its true sentiments

Knowledge Ecology International Leaks TPP Text On Intellectual Property

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By James Love of Knowledge Ecology International. Washington, DC – Today, August 4, 2015, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) released text from three sections of the 95-page secret negotiating text on the Intellectual Property Chapter being used in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP, sometimes referred to as TPPA) trade negotiations. The negotiating text is dated May 11, 2015, and reflects the state of the text right before the Maui rounds of the negotiation, which ended Friday, July 31, 2015. Analysis and more text to be forthcoming.

Trans & Cis Woman Stop Seattle Traffic Over Deportation Center

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By Not1More – “Trans and/or Women’s Action Camp (TWAC)” in solidarity with NWDC Resistance and the Not1More movement to end detentions and deportations, at this moment is doing a civil disobedience action to bring attention to ICE presence in downtown Seattle.TWAC will be calling attention to ICE, located on 1000 Second Ave where they have a large presence and headquarters, and their local quota that guarantees a minimum of 800 beds to be filled at the immigration jail in Tacoma (aka Northwest Detention Center) operated by Geo group corporation. This quota is built into the contract between ICE Seattle and Geo and motivates the agency to round up immigrants in the area. The contract fuels the recent anti-immigrant politics in Congress that exposes the real intentions of Republicans and Democrats who both introduce and pass bills to scapegoat immigrants and exploit family tragedies.

A Haven From The Animal Holocaust

Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen, N.Y. (p… / CC BY 2.0)

Only in the insanity of corporate America can nonviolent animal rights activists be charged as terrorists while a white supremacist who gunned down African-Americans in a South Carolina church is charged on criminal counts. Only in the insanity of America can Wall Street financers implode the global economy through massive acts of fraud, causing widespread suffering, and be rewarded with trillions of dollars in government bailouts. Only in the insanity of America can government leaders wage wars that are defined as criminal acts of aggression under international law and then remain, unchallenged, in positions of power and influence. All this makes no sense in an open society.

World Bank Disguising Aid For Private, For-Profit Schools In Africa

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By Billy Briggs in Mint Press News – “These schools save costs by hiring ill-trained teachers and running large classes in substandard school buildings,” Singh wrote, adding: “Such ‘edu-businesses’, as they have come to be known, are an unsatisfactory replacement for the good public education governments should be providing.” Despite these findings, DFiD has also invested in BIA, prompting criticism from Global Justice Now. A spokesperson for the social justice organization told MintPress News: “British taxpayers are forcing private education systems on countries like Uganda and Kenya through schemes like this backed by DfID and the World Bank.” Aid is being used as a tool, Global Justice Now added, to compel the majority of the world to undertake policies which help Western business while undermining public services in emerging nations.

Why Russia Shut Down NED Fronts

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By Robert Parry in Consortium News – The Washington Post’s descent into the depths of neoconservative propaganda – willfully misleading its readers on matters of grave importance – apparently knows no bounds as was demonstrated with two deceptive articles regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin and why his government is cracking down on “foreign agents.” If you read the Post’s editorial on Wednesday and a companion op-ed by National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, you would have been led to believe that Putin is delusional, paranoid and “power mad” in his concern that outside money funneled into non-governmental organizations represents a threat to Russian sovereignty. The Post and Gershman were especially outraged that the Russians have enacted laws requiring NGOs financed from abroad and seeking to influence Russian policies to register as “foreign agents” – and that one of the first funding operations to fall prey to these tightened rules was Gershman’s NED.

During B’more Uprising, City Officials Criminalized Hashtags

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By Kevin Gosztola in Shadow Proof – The surveillance by the city, a security company, and a corporation reflects how scared everyone was of the protesting. The uneasiness was used to justify the bolstering of security, even though there was only one day in the beginning where riots occurred. Such monitoring, much of which was aimed at protesters, fits in with DHS’s practice of tracking “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations closely since Michael Brown was gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. The FBI has used its Joint Terrorism Task Force to provide support to the Mall of America for a Black Lives Matter protest on December 20. Mall of America security have catfishedBlack Lives Matter activists in order to collect intelligence against them.

Support Jus, Hambach Forest Defender On Hunger Strike In Jail

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By Hambach Forest in Earth First Journal – One person remains in custody after our last remaining living tower barricade, an essential tool for peaceful resistance against deforestation and climate collapse, was evicted. Our living tower barricade, which was situated at the entrance to the Hambach Forest, was named Rémi’s Tower in memory of Rémi Fraisse, bringing attention to the increasing deaths and oppression of Earth defenders. A UK-based group Global Witness reported that at least 116 environmental activists died last year while campaigning against mining, logging, water and land grabs. The amount of oppression, incarceration and deaths is rising. On July 22nd at around 8am, as the eviction of Rémi’s Tower began, Jus was the only activist occupying the tower.

Social Media & Movements: Is The Love Affair Really Over?

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By Thomas Swann in Roar Mag – Social media was increasingly seen as an essential element in how large groups were able to organize without centralized leadership. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter were allowing people to mobilize not as hierarchical structures like trade unions and political parties but as horizontal networks. Individual activists and sub-groups enjoyed a tactical autonomy while remaining part of a larger whole. Almost four years have passed, and now at the end of my PhD the gloss to this narrative has to a large extent worn off. Some elements of the 2011 uprisings have been consumed by the tragedy of civil war and renewed dictatorships, while others have dispersed.