Posts Tagged ‘Human rights’
By Rady Ananda
COTO Report May 2, 2014
The World Bank joins Nestlé in wanting to privatize water, deeming it “extremist” to suggest that those born on this planet have a natural right to clean, potable water. Meanwhile, RT’s Abby Martin reports that the watchdog group Corporate Accountability International recently released a new analysis showing that:
“Investing in private water does not extend access and is also counterproductive for economic development. By contrast, infrastructure investment, abandoned by the corporate sector, is where real benefit can be achieved: the World Health Organization estimates more than $10 of economic benefit from every $1 invested in water infrastructure systems.”
By Rady Ananda, 04 Feb 2014
Food Freedom News
Under 30 minutes, deceptions 2 is Chris Pratt’s follow-up to his popular full-length documentary from 2010 (reviewed here). D2 focuses on the use of public relations firms to manipulate the public into supporting foreign wars of aggression.
But these aren’t ordinary wars, where industry sends armies into the bush to slaughter natives to seize their lands. Instead, now the US and its allies are poisoning the lands they invade, using depleted uranium and caustic chemicals, and generating an epidemic of birth defects.
This is a continuation of the chemical contamination with Agent Orange, which the US and its allies used in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Pratt spends some time covering the ongoing teratogenic effects from that era, and briefly comments on Gulf War Syndrome.
“There has been a fundamental change in the nature of war and militarism since World War I,” wrote the late Dr. Sr. Rosalie Bertell in 2004, “and this change has escalated out of control since World War II.”
A Grey Nun of the Sacred Heart, Bertell received her Ph. D. degree in biometrics with minors in biology and biochemistry from the Catholic University of America in 1966. She founded the International Concern for Public Health (IICPH), and was a founding member of the International Commission of Health Professionals, and the International Association of Humanitarian Medicine. She served on the Bhopal and the Chernobyl Medical Commissions, and was a recipient of several awards, including the Right Livelihood Award. She died last June at the age of 83.
She goes further:
“The use of toxic gas as a weapon, poisoning of water ways or air, and using chemicals in warfare broke the taboo against widespread and indiscriminative killing of non-combatants. This trend escalated during WW II through carpet bombings, the nuclear bombs and the V2 rockets. Then chemists, using the chlorine gas, separated for a WW I weapon, developed agent-orange and an array of pesticides, herbicides and defoliants which attacked both people and the living earth itself. The military used these in the Viet Nam War. Extensive use of land mines in Korea and elsewhere, prolonged wars beyond the truce, and now we have the firing of radioactive waste, depleted uranium, at an enemy, prolonging the mutilation and killing for generations after the war is over.”
From Agent Orange victims to Bush babies, the film does not ignore Obama’s transgressions against basic human rights, including his overturning the Magna Carta by claiming the role of accuser, judge and executioner under the National Defense Authorization Act and Executive Orders.
But Pratt employs levity, too, when he reproduces James Corbett’s 3½ minute summary of the 911 Commission report, and Stephen Colbert’s 2-minute schtick on Global Terror color warnings.
Inspired by Margaret Heffernan’s Ted Talk on the dangers of “willful blindness”, Pratt set out once more to jostle the sleeping masses. Like the story about a town poisoned by asbestos, Pratt realized the same could be said about the destruction of our planet.
“This is not happening in secrecy,” he told me. “It’s happening right in front of us and people are choosing not to look.”
For those who want to, below is his latest documentary:
Fear Not the Path of Truth: A veteran’s journey after Fallujah follows Ross Caputi, veteran of the 2nd siege of Fallujah and Director of the Justice For Fallujah Project, as he investigates the atrocities that he was a part of and the legacy of US foreign policy in Fallujah. Caputi’s website is here.
Colombians in Trafalgar Square show their support for the farmers’ strike in Colombia. Protesters are demonstrating against the free trade agreement with the US; seed multinationals; GMO crops, and seed patents. Photo by Andres Pantoja
On Sept. 10 in Colombia, after 21 days of a nationwide strike by thousands of farmers, who were supported by bus and truck drivers, miners, students, and others joining massive demonstrations in cities and towns all around the country in places as far as Boyacá, Cundinamarca, Cauca, Huila, Putumayo, Caldas, Cundinamarca, and Nariño, and blocking more than 40 roads, in an historic moment, protesting farmers forced the Colombian government to negotiate the rejection of a farm bill and the release of detained protesters.
On Sunday, September 8, Vice President Angelino Garzón met with the Strike Negotiating Commission in Popayan and agreed to suspend Law 970, the one that gave control over seeds to the government [which made it illegal for farmers to save seeds, any seeds, forcing them to buy patented ones].
They also were promised the release of the 648 arrested during the strike and the creation of a new mining law.
Under this first and provisional agreement, the government will compensate the farmers for their losses when competing with cheaper products imported under as much as ten free market treaties with countries all around the world. In other cases it will suspend the importation of such products.
The strike was ended and negotiations started to discuss the farmers’ proposals. The process of negotiation, as well as the final agreement and its implementation, will be verified by the United Nations.
The Egyptian people have exposed the great myth that prevails in the sphere of United States’ foreign policy, namely that U.S. foreign policy elites are concerned with “spreading democracy.”
That is because, as Hampshire College’s Michael Klare has written, since 1945, the United States has maintained a foreign policy that is centered around “blood and oil.” The foreign policy establishment often uses “democracy spreading” as a public relations platitude because it sounds much better than saying, “We went to war for oil.” But caring about democracy goes out the window when one truly scrutinizes U.S. foreign policy through a critical lens. Sourcewatch calls this phenomenon Big Oil, Big Lies.
Case Studies Exposing the Mythology
Several case studies ring a bell.
Case in point: The cozy relationship with Azerbaijan, a country with one of the worst human rights track records in the world. It just happens to be next to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, and is strategically located next to Iran, another oil-rich country.
The reason? Mossadegh decided to nationalize Iran’s oil and British Petroleum, then called the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, didn’t like that very much. Thus, Mossadegh was overthrown and replaced with the oil-industry friendly Shah Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, a man who happened to be brutally oppressive toward his own people.
To repeat, the U.S. had a democracy in Iran, but because that democracy chose to nationalize its oil, the U.S. overthrew it.
Case in point: The long-standing “special relationship” with Saudi Arabia, a country with one of the worst human rights’ track records in the world. Last time I checked, I heard they have quite a bit of oil, too.
Case in point: The overt favoritism by the U.S. toward Israel in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Israel is currently in the midst of its 44th year of the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and on a daily basis commits egregious human rights violations against the Palestinian people, all while the United States showers Israel with expensive toys, to the tune of over $3 billion+ per year in military aid.
Case in point: The “special relationship” with Egypt that has existed since the days of Henry Kissinger-led “shuttle diplomacy”, which resulted in the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979 (yes, this Henry Kissinger). Egypt switched from being a Cold War enemy to a Cold War ally, and a country that has had an atrociously bad human rights’ record for decades has now erupted from within as a backlash against this. The U.S. is complicit in these Hosni Mubarak-led human rights abuses, as it is caught in a pickle, which is the “special relationship.” These abuses are irrelevent to the foreign policy establishment though, for Egypt is located on the Israeli border, and like Israel, serves as a client state in the region.
Some have called this moment in history in Egypt Obama’s 9-11, for it is quite obvious that he has no clue what to do about it or what to say about it. While true, the most apparent and least presumptive thing to say right now is that the American Empire has been exposed, its hypocrisy and hubris shed in the limelight, and Nemisis, the Greek Goddess of Revenge, has her eyes peeled and focused on Narcissus — the United States in this scenario.
The Revolution Carries On
The Middle East, for better or for worse, is a changed place forever and there’s no looking back for the Egyptian people now.
Just don’t buy the spin about “concern for democratic rights” by Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama — they could care less about that. They are just scared they are about to lose an obedient regional client.
Only time will tell.
“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.” – Frantz Fanon
“Killing One Person Is MURDER–Killing 100,000 Is FOREIGN POLICY.” – Anonymous
January 20, 2011″BlackCommentator” — The United States of America is, in reality, a one-party corporatist state whose very existence is, more than ever, perpetuated by a conscious deliberate denial of reality, even in the face of the obvious.
This nation’s internal and external political, economic, and military policies have nothing whatever to do with “democracy,” “justice,” or “human rights;” and everything to do with exploitation, hegemony, deceit, and control of the many–by the few. No amount of rationalization can change or ameliorate this fact.
Everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people in this actual one-party U.S. corporatist state are the de facto cannon fodder of the corporate / military Democratic and Republican Party foxes and wolves respectively. Moreover, it is utterly absurd and delusionary to expect “hope” to bring about much-needed systemic “change.” The time is here for the people of this nation to dispense with myths, face reality, and change it.
Corporations are in constant covert (and often unabashed overt) control of the White House, the congress, and the judiciary, even as this nation’s infrastructure deteriorates and living standards plummet–along with decent living wages and opportunities for everyday people. The two Rs–Rhetoric and Repression–are what the masses of everyday people are the daily recipients. Meanwhile, the corporate elite of corporations including Honeywell, General Electic, Lockheed, Boeing, and so very many more– rake in billions upon billions of dollars in blood money as they develop and perfect ever more sinister and devastatingly hideous devices and killing machines–to the scourge of humankind and the entire planet. There is no war (declared or undeclared) that the corporate / military elite do not support–for whether any war itself is won or lost–this avaricious corporate / military elite wins. They smugly and arrogantly wrap themselves in apparent political expediency under the cover of grotesquely distorted patriotism–sanctimoniously financially enriching themselves–while bathing in the precious irreplaceable blood of everyday people of this nation and that of people around the globe. This is the corporate trough from which the politicians of this nation drink and to which they are beholden.
With over 800 U.S. military bases / installations throughout this planet–the amoral symbiotic relationship between corporations and politicans in this nation (including the judiciary and ever-compliant corporate-stream “news” media) reeks with the stench of hypocrisy, injustice, subterfuge, and death. As the present robotic, black-faced, corporate / military, nominal head of the U.S. empire shamelessly wages military wars abroad while facilitating repression against political dissenters and against any possibility of having informed, honest, and real dialouge at home; the hypocrisy of ‘America’s’ so called democracy is self evident whether or not people choose to see the obvious.