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Court Rules Against Waratah Coal Mine In Landmark Ruling

Popular Resistance - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 14:04

The Queensland Land Court has ruled human rights would be unjustifiably limited by a proposal to dig the state's largest coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland.

First Nations-led activist group Youth Verdict challenged an application by mining company Waratah Coal, owned by billionaire Clive Palmer.

The group of young Queensland activists challenged the mine on the basis it would impact the human rights of First Nations peoples by contributing to climate change.

The coal mine would remove about 40 million tonnes of coal a year for export to South-East Asia, with a forecast life span of 30 years.

It is the first time a group has successfully argued coal from a mine would impact human rights by contributing to climate change.

The post Court Rules Against Waratah Coal Mine In Landmark Ruling appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

Indigenous People Push Back Against US ‘Thanksgiving Mythology’

Popular Resistance - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 13:55

The United American Indians of New England and allies gathered at noon Thursday at Cole's Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts for the 53rd National Day of Mourning—an annual tradition that serves as "a day of remembrance and spiritual connection, as well as a protest against the racism and oppression that Indigenous people continue to experience worldwide."

"We don't have any issues with people sitting down with their family and giving thanks," Kisha James—who is an enrolled member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and is also Oglala Lakota—told BBC. "What we do object to is the Thanksgiving mythology."

In a Thursday speech, James—whose grandfather founded the National Day of Mourning in 1970—challenged the lies of "mythmakers" and history books, instead highlighting "genocide, the theft of our lands, the destruction of our traditional ways of life, slavery, starvation, and never-ending oppression."

The post Indigenous People Push Back Against US ‘Thanksgiving Mythology’ appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

Building a Resilient and Equitable Grid, December 7

Sunflower Alliance - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 13:51

Retiring fossil fuels means we’ll need more and more electricity — so it’s crucial that the electric grid be not only clean, but reliable and just. Join The Climate Center for Building a Resilient and Equitable Grid for the Future, the second in their series, Envisioning a Climate-Safe California: Stories and Solutions.

The webinar … Read more

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Will Alberta’s UCP government tries to ban mask wearing in schools?

Rabble - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 13:47

Serious question: How long before Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) government tries to ban mask wearing in schools, period? 

After all, nothing triggers an anti-vaccine snowflake like the sight of an adult wearing a COVID mask, unless it’s the sight of a child wearing one.

And surely by now we understand we’re all responsible for ensuring those who fly apart at the sight of a paper mask can feel good about themselves again!

Am I being sarcastic? Frankly, I can hardly tell any more. 

Yesterday, Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange banned school mask mandates and changed the rules to ensure that no school can move Grade 1 to 12 classes completely online, no matter how many students are sick, or how sick they are.

Last month, an Alberta Court of King’s Bench judge found LaGrange overstepped her authority when she ordered school boards not to try to set their own mask mandates. 

Well, this fixes that. That’ll teach parents not to go to court to try to protect their immunocompromised children!

It may not seem very sensible to ban mask mandates and online learning at a time when many classes are reported to be more than half empty with students sick with the three respiratory illnesses that are slamming Alberta at once – COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus

But who said the UCP had to be sensible, especially now that a right-wing talk radio host with a fondness for quack COVID cures is calling the shots and the governing party in the hands of a cadre of anti-vaccine, anti-mask militants called Take Back Alberta?

“Securing a face-to-face classroom environment means students can continue to learn successfully while allowing their parents to go to work,” LaGrange said in a news release.

“It will also help to maintain and improve student mental health while minimizing student learning loss,” she added, a questionable point on both counts. 

It’s all very well for LaGrange to sign a letter to parents claiming she’s trying to protect students’ health by requiring schools to remain open without mask requirements no matter what, but what happens if the anti-maskers aren’t satisfied with that? 

Up to now she and Premier Danielle Smith have indicated it’s OK to send your kids to school in masks if you wish to – or, if you’re silly enough to want to keep them safe, the Smith Government’s messaging seems to imply. 

“Families are free to make their own personal health decisions, and, no matter what that decision is, it will be supported by Alberta’s education system,” Smith promised in Thursday’s press release.

But with the Occupation Convoy talking about heading back to Ottawa, you have to wonder how long it will be before our education minister is seriously considering banning masks in school altogether, because freedom!

According to Sarah Hoffman, the former minister of health and the NDP Opposition’s education critic in the Legislature, “it’s clear that Adriana LaGrange and Danielle Smith don’t have a clue about what’s happening in Alberta schools.”

“The UCP is asking school staff and families to take on more chaos and stress while the current government underspent the education budget by $1 billion over the past two years,” she added. “It is totally unrealistic to expect that school districts can staff in-person and online classes simultaneously with no additional resources. They are struggling to staff schools already given UCP cuts in the last budget.”

However, it’s unlikely the problem is that the education minister and the premier don’t understand what’s happening in the schools. More likely they just don’t care. 

Alberta is being run a group of people who apparently think COVID is a fake disease, and may be starting to imagine influenza is too.

Needless to say, this is not a healthy state of affairs.

Second-quarter fiscal update: Cue the slide whistles! 

Uh oh! Cue the slide whistles! 

Alberta continues to roll in enough cash to bankroll Premier Smith’s vote-buying campaign for now, but according to the province’s second-quarter fiscal update yesterday, “high inflation, rising interest rates and geopolitical unrest are slowing global economic activity,” and, always the clincher in Alberta, “oil prices have softened.”

OK, they’ve remained robust, Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news conference, and the projected windfall surplus is still $12.3 billion, down close to a billion from the first-quarter prediction. 

But those of us who have been in Alberta for a long time know it doesn’t take much for Alberta Conservatives to go from telling us it’s the best of times, to telling us it’s the worst of times, the spring of spending, the winter of austerity. 

As for the Kenney Government’s promise to put $1.7 billion into the Heritage Fund, that’s off already. 

“This sort of ad-hoc, frantic approach is not good for the long-term fiscal sustainability of Alberta’s balance sheet,” said NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips. 

But since when did Alberta do things any other way? Other than between 2015 and 2019, I suppose you could argue. 

We’re a distinct society, after all, aren’t we? Ad-hoc, frantic spending and cutting is our unique cultural character. Toews is just setting us up for the same old, same old. 

The post Will Alberta’s UCP government tries to ban mask wearing in schools? appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Shandro’s complaint about RCMP commissioner is preformative

Rabble - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 13:37

There’s a certain irony, I suppose, to Alberta’s justice minister piously insisting “the commissioner of the RCMP must be held to the highest of standards” while he himself faces an investigation into whether he breached the Law Society’s code of conduct. 

But the frequently irascible Shandro’s performative handwringing about RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki Werdnesday was all part of the United Conservative Party (UCP)’s campaign to replace the Mounties as Alberta’s provincial police with a more expensive but presumably more pliable provincially run force. 

This recycled policy proposal from Stephen Harper’s sovereignist 2001 manifesto, the notorious Firewall Letter, is broadly unpopular with rural and urban Albertans alike, a point of frustration to the UCP under former premier Jason Kenney and even more so now under Premier Danielle Smith, the Sovereignty Queen of Wild Rose Country. 

Given the UCP’s history and attitudes about policing, it’s hard to believe Shandro’s first complaint in his opportunistic news release yesterday that the RCMP Commissioner “has failed to deal with the RCMP’s history of systemic racism in a forthright and public manner” is really a priority of the current Alberta government. 

Demanding that federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino fire Lucki, Shandro also cranked up some faux outrage that the commissioner “risked the integrity” of the inquiry into the 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia. This is a harder case to make unless you’re an aggrieved gun nut.

Alert readers will understand that Shandro is not complaining about the RCMP’s appalling handling of the Nova Scotia shootings while that tragedy was unfolding, but about Lucki’s entirely legitimate decision to describe the kind of weapons being used – a revelation verboten in right-wing cancel culture. 

In addition, he complained that she “failed to inform the federal cabinet of all law enforcement options available prior to the decision to invoke the Emergencies Act,” a tendentious claim that should be left to the the statutory commission into that crisis, which may reach a different conclusion given what we’ve heard to date. 

Mendicino “stood idly by while Lucki has failed to meet even the most meagre of standards for the past two years,” Shandro opined huffily.

“This is an abrogation of the minister’s core responsibility to Canadians and must be rectified before the RCMP’s reputation as Canada’s federal police service is further damaged,” he continued, doing his best to impugn the reputation of the RCMP, the better to replace it with something even worse.

A closely related aspect of the Smith Government’s anti-Ottawa strategy was found not far away, literally three new releases later in Wednesday’s stream of pre-election campaign announcements on the province’s Alberta.ca website. 

Amendments introduced Tuesday to the federal government’s latest firearms control legislation had the UCP in a frenzy, presumably in hopes of keeping Alberta’s sizeable community of fans of firearms, particularly ones that look like assault rifles, on side. They are, after all, a key component of the party’s increasingly radicalized base.

Shandro’s statement alleged, falsely, that the Ottawa’s Bill C-21 “will lead to the most sweeping and arbitrary ban in Canadian history” that “will not only be unenforceable but will criminalize hundreds of thousands of Canadians.”

Whether or not it’s unenforceable remains to be seen, but it will only criminalize those gun owners who choose not to obey the law. 

The statement then moved on to its real point, to wit: We’re here for you, gun people! 

“The federal government is clearly seeking to ban legal firearm ownership altogether,” Shandro’s statement concluded, also falsely. “In the coming weeks, Alberta will explore all available options to take action.”

That’s probably a reference to Smith’s still unseen Sovereignty (But Actually Proudly Canadian or Something) Act, which will allow Alberta to unconstitutionally ignore federal laws without violating the Canadian Constitution … or whatever. 

We await the appearance of this miraculous piece of legislation for further analysis.

It is important to note that as mass shootings continue with metronomic regularity in the United States, evidence keeps piling up with the bodies that the principal difference between the U.S. and other countries is the number of guns in circulation. As the New York Times reported in 2017, “the only variable that can explain the high rate of mass shootings in America is its astronomical number of guns.”

Finding co-operation with the gun lobby political expedient, the UCP, apparently, is willing to risk the same fate for Alberta. 

In the meantime, back in Ottawa, Mendicino told reporters: “I have confidence, and the government has confidence, in Commissioner Lucki.” In other words, Get lost, Shandro! 

Shandro’s Law Society hearing is scheduled to take place from January 24 to 26 in Calgary. It will look into three controversial incidents in 2020 when he was minister of health. 

In one, the Law Society’s summary of the case says, it’s alleged went to a neighbour’s home and “behaved inappropriately by engaging in conduct that brings the reputation of the profession into disrepute.”

Another allegation says Shandro “used his position as Minister of Health to obtain personal cell phone numbers” and “contacted one or more members of the public outside of regular working hours using that information.”

The third says he “responded to an email from a member of the public addressed to his wife by threatening to refer that individual to the authorities if they did not address future correspondence to his office as Minister of Health.”

The post Shandro’s complaint about RCMP commissioner is preformative appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Climate scientists take climate activism into their own hands

Rabble - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 13:04

Wildlife conservation specialist and biologist Laura Kehoe is leaving behind a dream research position on a post-doc at Oxford University and the Nature Conservancy on the Livestock Environment and People project to work full-time for the climate. 

The financial hit does not faze her. 

“I have some savings anyway. Money can come and go. It is the flourishing of life on Earth that I care about,” Kehoe said over a Zoom call from her home in Dublin, Ireland. 

She stresses the “moral duty” of scientists like herself to sound the alarm.

“We know more than most what is coming down the line. It is already happening,” she said.

Kehoe has been busy developing strategies to protect the Earth’s life support systems, “grounded in spatial ecology and conservation decision science.”  

Also, she is helping to plant trees in deforested natural areas where farmers struggle to grow crops. 

All of this work in communities has taken her around the globe. It includes a two-year stint in Canada with two universities, University of British Columbia and University of Victoria. 

Now, the hour is getting late and various scientists like Kehoe are stepping outside the comfort zone of their research labs.

“I would ask any scientist …why are they in science in the first place. Is it for the sake of humanity’s well being, if so, we need to stand up and speak out,” she said.

Meanwhile, meet the world’s most famous scientist-s*** disturber

A NASA climate scientist at the Jet Propulsion Lab, Peter Kalmus was among the arrested last April after locking himself into the entrance of the JP Morgan Chase in downtown Los Angeles. 

“We chose JP Morgan Chase because out of all the investment banks in the world, JP Morgan Chase funds the (newest) fossil fuel projects,” he told The Guardian 

Kalmus is on a tear. In the fall he was part of a nation-wide campaign in the US to oppose the flying of private jets, a major source of greenhouse gases. He and another climate scientist were charged with trespassing after chaining themselves to the entryway at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s private jet terminal. 

I left some questions on the web site of Peter Kalmus but so far, he has not gotten back to me. 

Kalmus laments in a tweet that most scientists are not following in his chosen path.

“If thousands of scientists started stepping up into civil disobedience instead of just dozens it would be truly game changing for saving Earth,” he tweeted. 

The global temperatures are currently at 1.2 per cent above pre-industrial levels. Scientists are telling us that climate change is worsening at an unprecedented speed. The breaching of the 1.5 C threshold set by the 2015 Paris Agreement is expected soon.

To avoid that scenario, scientists are pleading that countries quickly transition to a non-carbon world. Meaning, stop the production and burning of fossil fuels which emit carbon that is then baked into the atmosphere and ratches up a heating planet.

Yes, there are investments in electric cars and renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

But the transition by governments is remarkably too slow to stave off the terrifying consequences down the road. Much of that is attributed to the power and clout of the fossil fuel companies and the financiers of their current exploration projects.  

At the just completed United Nations climate conference (COP 27) in Egypt, national governments failed to reach a consensus on reducing oil and gas. 

Laura Kehoe says that even were the pledges for action by the past 27 annual climate gatherings implemented, the global temperatures would still overshoot beyond two degrees Celsius.

“What over two degrees means is that our means capacity to feed ourselves, supply water and have basic security are gone,” says Kehoe.

She says a serious disconnect exists between scientists with front row seats on the technical data of climate change and species disappearance and political leaders, plus members of the public who are in denial or not coming to terms with science behind the impending climate chaos. 

Kalmus and Kehoe are members of a loose international network of scientists, Science Rebellion focused on an aggressive protest that can include non-violent civil disobedience.

Kehoe is fed up with the polite rallies and marches in her native Ireland protesting climate inaction but not accomplishing much. What she describes may have resonance here in Canada. 

Her preferred model is the in-your-face style of climate protest in the UK

“If you look through history, that is generally how (change) happens. We have to be a lot more abrasive and a lot more courageous,” says Kehoe. 

Visit the Science Rebellion web site and you will find a host of signatures from scientists from around the world. Some high-profile names such as Katharine Hayhoe and Michael Mann are not there. 

Not all scientists support the radicalism professed by Science Rebellion, says Lynne Quarmby, a professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at Simon Fraser University and a past federal Green party candidate. 

“I have no data to support this, but my guess is that scientists are not joiners. First, there is not the time to properly vet everything that crosses our desks and scientists are not likely to join without properly vetting. Second, the SR letter has a radical ring that will not resonate with many scientists (in other words, yes, I suspect political differences). In my case, you do not find my name for reason #1, ” she said.

Quarmby was no slouch when it came to protesting the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline going past her university.

In 2012, she was for instance. one of 13 people arrested in White Rock for blocking coal trains. 

“We were taken to jail but we were processed immediately and released,” said Quarmby

Quarmby also stresses that there is still time to mitigate and adapt climate change without experiencing as much of the predicted damage if no action is taken.

“I don’t know any credible scientist that would say we are hopelessly doomed. Civilization is in very serious trouble. There is going to be a lot of social upheaval, there are going to be issues with food production, transportation and all sorts of things, that is not the same thing as extinction, ” she added.

There is a history of scientists speaking out from their vantage point of their research and knowledge, ranging from the dangers of nuclear weapons to the pandemic.

Ottawa based and award-winning journalist Stephen Leahy has encountered many scientists during the years he has covered international climate conferences.

“In my experience scientists are very conservative and taught to qualify what they say and not express personal opinions. Let the science speak for itself is what they are taught and have told me many times,” he said.“That seems to be changing for some in recent years. There have long been calls from activists for scientists to speak out because of their respected status in society.”“So many of my interviews with scientists end up concluding: ‘We know what to do and how to do it. All that is missing is political will,’” added Leahy.

The post Climate scientists take climate activism into their own hands appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Thanksgiving Weekend Weather: Mild for Most, Rainy for Some

Environment News Service - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 12:05

As we head into Thanksgiving, NOAA forecasters anticipate temperatures close to seasonal normals in most areas of the country, but there will be increased chances of precipitation in some places. 

Categories: H. Green News

NASA Program Predicted Impact of Small Asteroid Over Ontario, Canada

Environment News Service - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 12:04

2022 WJ1 was a tiny asteroid on a collision course with Earth. But astronomers saw it coming, and NASA’s Scout impact hazard assessment system calculated where it would hit.

Categories: H. Green News

NASA Satellite Precipitation Data Joins the Air Force

Environment News Service - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 12:03

Rain gauges are plentiful around the United States, but that’s not the case elsewhere in the world – particularly over oceans and sparsely populated areas. 

Categories: H. Green News

Synthetic Fibres Discovered in Antarctic Samples Show the ‘Pristine’ Continent Is Now a Sink for Plastic Pollution

Environment News Service - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 12:01

As nations prepare to meet in Uruguay to negotiate a new Global Plastics Treaty, a new study has revealed the discovery of synthetic plastic fibres in air, seawater, sediment and sea ice sampled in the Antarctic Weddell Sea. 

Categories: H. Green News

Don Davies: Regarding the legalization of cannabis in Canada, pardons are not enough

Rabble - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 11:14

MP Don Davies has been a vocal advocate for improving Canada’s drug policies – notably calling for across-the-board record expungement for marijuana convictions. In this clip, Davies explains the issues with the current pardon process and how a ‘blanket pardon’ would actually work in Canada.

Don Davies is the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Kingsway. He was first elected in 2008, and has been re-elected four times since. Davies is the NDP Critic for Health and Deputy Critic for Foreign Affairs and International Development.

“My colleague Murray Rankin, who was justice critic at the time, introduced legislation in the House of Commons in 2019 that would have had expungement of all cannabis related records. In one fell swoop, if we passed that law, everyone in the country who had criminal records for the prescribed list . . . would have immediately had their records expunged. They could tell people ‘I’ve never been convicted of a crime.’ The Liberals defeated that legislation.”

This is a clip from rabble’s most recent live politics panel: ‘Off the Hill: Big Biz Marijuana – who wins, who loses?’ The panel featured guests Jodie Giesz-Ramsay, Chuka Ejeckam and MP Don Davies. With co-hosts Robin Browne and Libby Davies.

Off the Hill is a live panel unpacking current issues of national significance that features guests and discussions you won’t find anywhere else. To support Off the Hill’s mission of mobilizing individuals to create progressive change in national politics — on and off Parliament Hill — visit rabble.ca/donate.

The post Don Davies: Regarding the legalization of cannabis in Canada, pardons are not enough appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Responsibility Claimed for Arson of C-IRG Vehicles on Wet’suwet’en Territory

Earth First! Newswire - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 11:08

from Anarchist News

As you read this, Coastal GasLink drills beneath the sacred headwaters of the Wedzin Kwa. The ground shakes in Wet’suwet’en territories. For every tremor of the earth as they drive their borehead and blast their explosives through riverbed and rock, right beneath schools of spawning salmon, tremors of pain and rage reverberate through the hearts of those who still have space to feel it.

Death surrounds us. Salmon die en masse as creeks run dry. Massive areas of once-flourishing rainforest burn. A billion snow crabs disappear and die in Alaska. Climate chaos runs rampant while mega projects churn the living world into a living nightmare. So many people pass out of this world too soon. Maybe it gets called suicide. Or overdose. Or stroke. Maybe it is a police bullet that rips through flesh and organs. All of this is the manifestation of the unbearable pain, suffering and violence brought on by colonialism and the state.

In “british columbia” it is the RCMP who defend and enforce this violence. And where extractive industries meet indigenous resistance the RCMP employ a specialized division called Community-Industry Response Group. It is C-IRG cops who volunteer to raid, surveil, harass, and brutalize land defenders on behalf of their corporate masters.

Early on October 26th four C-IRG vehicles in Smithers were set ablaze while C-IRG officers slept just meters away. The fires damaged or destroyed all four trucks and spread to several industry vehicles and an ambulance in the parking lot. The CGL and BC Hydro trucks burned are hardly regrettable. The damaged ambulance was unfortunate and unintended. No one was injured in this action because steps were taken to ensure no one would be. Vehicles were only lit where it was certain fire would not spread to structures or endanger life.

The violence enacted by industry and enforced by the police damns an entire planet to a fiery desertified future. Recognizing the fact that each of us has a stake in this struggle means recognizing the importance of acting with our own agency, autonomy, and urgency. We must all sharpen our pain into the determination necessary to act against those responsible for our suffering.

There are no words to be shared with government or industry that can change the core of their nature. These institutions are not people. They have no soul, no ethics, and no conscience. Their driving force is profit at any cost, and they cannot be negotiated or reasoned with.

Liberals and centrists want politics to be neat and tidy, within the bounds of respectability. The labeling of actions outside of these bounds as a ‘false flag’ operation severely limits our ability to broaden the scope of struggle and directly challenge the state’s violence. Successful movements utilize a broad set of tactics to achieve their goals. False flag accusations only serve to isolate those who choose to engage in more confrontational actions from broader support, which is dangerous and limiting. If there is a conspiracy here, it is the overt collusion between corporations and state forces to continue the legacy of genocidal violence on indigenous peoples and land.

Burning cop cars is easy. Taking the steps to prevent arrests is less so. Research methods that work; warriorup.noblogs.org is a good place to start. Use security oriented and open source tech tools on public WiFi for this, or better yet, go old-school and get books. Test your methods. Think carefully about how fire can spread to make sure you will not unintentionally burn down a building or cause injury. Know how to avoid leaving evidence. Think critically about the consequences of action as well as inaction. Trust your rebellious instincts and move with courage.

It has always been the time to fight. It still is.

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Symbolic But Significant: Why the Decision to Investigate Abu Akleh's Murder Is Unprecedented

Common Dreams - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 10:31
Though the US investigation of Abu Akleh’s murder is unlikely to result in any kind of justice, it is a very important moment in US-Israeli and US-Palestinian relationships.
Categories: F. Left News

Women's Rights Are Essential to Democracy

Common Dreams - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 10:11
Several countries with authoritarian structures of government offer powerful examples of denial of women's rights.
Categories: F. Left News

'Amazing News': Historic Shark Protections Approved at Global Wildlife Convention

Common Dreams - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 09:38
Up to 90% of sharks targeted by the lucrative fin trade will now be protected, said one advocate.
Categories: F. Left News

Biden must demand freedom for Alaa Abd El-Fattah

Rabble - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 09:37

CAIRO–There are dictators in the world who wield absolute power, and then there are U.S. Senators. Very few understand the power these 100 individuals hold in the world’s most powerful country. A single senator can effectively block any legislation. They don’t need to give a reason, and often do it entirely in secret. President Joe Biden, who was a senator for decades, knows this and also knows he needs the vote of every Democratic senator to pass critical appropriations during Congress’ current lame duck session.

Democratic Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the longest-serving senator currently in office, is retiring on January 2nd after 48 years. He’s been a champion of human rights, authoring the “Leahy Law” that denies U.S. aid to human rights abusing regimes. Senator Leahy or one of his colleagues could make a vital difference, and save lives, by blocking any bill in this session that shores up human rights abusing governments.

Take Egypt.

The U.S.-backed Egyptian dictator President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi rose to power after a military coup in 2013. His image is omnipresent in this sprawling capital city of 20 million, on buildings, lamp posts, and across the mass media, which is effectively controlled by the state. More than 60,000 political prisoners are locked up here; the true number is unknown. The most prominent is Alaa Abd El-Fattah, a writer, technologist and leading activist in the 2011 Arab Spring revolution that overthrew Egypt’s previous, long-standing, U.S.-backed dictator, Hosni Mubarak.

Yet Alaa, a dual Egyptian and British citizen, has been in prison for most of the last decade. His case received global attention when Egypt hosted COP27, the UN climate summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh. Alaa had been on hunger strike for more than 200 days. As COP27 began on November 6th, he escalated his protest, refusing to drink water altogether. Last week, Alaa told family members, in their first prison visit in a month, that he suffered a near-death experience that week. The German Chancellor, the French President, the British Prime Minister, and President Biden had all raised his case directly with Sisi. Prison authorities medically intervened secretly, to avoid the crisis his death during COP27 would have provoked.

The Sisi regime survives largely thanks to massive support from the United States. Egypt receives $1.3 billion annually in military aid, with an additional $125 million-plus in economic aid. Egypt has long been the second-highest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, after Israel. Its support is delivered through annual Congressional appropriations, subject to verifiable compliance with human rights standards. The U.S. State Department oversees this massive aid package with the Pentagon.

As part of the process, the State Department is required to produce a human rights report on Egypt. Its most recent 72-page litany of horrors includes extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, torture and cruel, inhuman treatment; life-threatening prison conditions and arbitrary detention. The list goes on. While any rational reading of the report would result in the denial of aid, the State Department routinely invokes a “national security” waiver, authorizing the aid despite the rampant abuses.

“You train their police officers, their army officers,” Laila Soueif, Alaa’s mother, a math professor and renowned activist in her own right, told the Democracy Now! news hour during an interview in their family apartment in Cairo. “This is a U.S. operation. The helicopters they use to track people in the desert, this is the U.S. This whole Sisi thing is a U.S. security operation. Really, the U.S. can decide, if they want to, that they want the regime to do this or not do that.”

Alaa’s family has been tirelessly advocating for his release, at great risk. His youngest sister, Sanaa, 28, has already been imprisoned for three years for her activism. “The U.S. has stakes in that regime, stakes in that oppression, and so has responsibility,” Sanaa said on Democracy Now!, sitting next to her mother. “It’s not leverage. Leverage is as if you’re not a stakeholder in this. You are a big part of this. You send $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt every year.”

President Biden was photographed with Sisi at COP27, laughing with the dictator. Sisi has also been invited to next month’s U.S.- Africa Leaders Summit at the White House. Like any Western-aligned autocrat seeking legitimacy, Sisi is reportedly seeking a one-on-one meeting with Biden.

President Biden should work for the immediate release of Alaa Abd El-Fattah and many more Egyptian political prisoners before granting Sisi a plum White House meeting. Meanwhile, Sen. Patrick Leahy, as one of his proud last acts in office, along with other Senators, should block further Egyptian military aid until Alaa is free.

This column originally appeared in Democracy Now!

The post Biden must demand freedom for Alaa Abd El-Fattah appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

'The Nightmare Materializes': Far-Right Extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir to Be Israel's National Security Minister

Common Dreams - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 09:35
The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Palestinian Authority said Ben-Gvir's elevation to national security minister could have a "catastrophic impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
Categories: F. Left News

Canadian workers are not to blame for inflation

Rabble - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 09:30

This week on the show, rabble editor Nick Seebruch is joined by the director of the Centre for Future Work, economist Jim Stanford. Together, they walk us through the state of Canada’s economy – the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Earlier this month, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem made headlines when he remarked that inflation was due to what he called an “overheated” labour market. Stanford says that’s unfair; Canadian workers being able to easily find employment and the slightly higher wages they’ve been receiving are not to blame for inflation – and therefore shouldn’t be punished. 

Seebruch and Stanford also discuss how progressive organizations, activists, and groups must ban together as we move forward into what’s sure to be a tough year economically and politically. 

Photo: Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

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Categories: F. Left News

The climax of the Emergencies Act hearings is supposed to be Trudeau (but it wasn’t)

Rabble - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 09:23

The public hearings on the Emergencies Act are ending — climactically I guess is the idea — with the prime minister. But as a viewer I was more gripped by the opening scenes, with protesters/truckers/occupiers on the stand. They embodied more contradictions, raw feeling and so, potentially, more insight.

Everyone wants to think their moment in the glare of history is the biggest ever, so it’s not surprising they claimed that about their honk-in. There are other contenders: the Oka crisis, the Winnipeg general strikeIdle No More. But what struck me was their sense of entitlement. Not righteousness — everyone thinks they’re right — but their shock at being treated as other protesters are.

Even this week, when “Freedom Convoy” lawyer Brendan Miller spotted a minister’s minion in the room, he asked the commission head to pop the guy onto the stand to answer Miller’s questions about some theory. It wasn’t just grandstanding to make a speech, which happened often, say, at U.S. anti-Communist hearings in the fifties. Miller seemed to actually expect a win.

These people say proudly they’ve never had trouble with police, that they have friends and family in police or military. And they do seem to have received info from police sources in Ottawa. They feel nothing in common with groups who live in lifelong fear of cops. I’m not saying they’re privileged. But they live on the safe side of the line that demarcates marginalized, vulnerable groups. It’s what you cling to when more direct forms of privilege start to teeter, as happened in the 1960s with empowerment of racialized groups, women, Indigenous peoples, etc.

In fact, some seem a bit obsessed with the sixties and finally getting a piece of that action. As Rabble-rouser Pat King said, “I’ve never seen anything as loving and peaceful in my life. It was Woodstock.” Organizer Tamara Lich — far more likable and plausible — called it a lovefest. There are emotional dividends to being marginal, as there are to being white, other things aside.

So it was the arrests that seemed to most unsettle them. Lich, who said convincingly that she’s not easily offended, also said she sobbed in her hotel room at the thought of her husband seeing her arrested. For the life of me, I can’t see why. Surely she should be proud, as should he, and generations before them. (In the sixties they sang, “If you’ve been to jail for justice, you’re a friend of mine.”) She’s upset that her trial isn’t till September, but what of those who spent decades in jail, like Steven Truscott, while innocent? Or others, interned for years during the wars for being Ukrainian, German or left wing?

It’s this lack of empathy, the failure to extend your own dismay to the plight of others when it’s staring you in the face, that seems to me the fatal human flaw. We retreat into particularity, instead of generalizing into common cause.

“No one else would’ve got three weeks with that kind of coddling,” a pissed-off protest veteran told me. The best parallel may be the 1935 On to Ottawa trek that began, via boxcars, in B.C. They didn’t make it past Regina. They were attacked by Mounties, routed, two people died, hundreds were injured. End of “convoy.” They’d probably have been grateful to make it to Winnipeg.

This column originally appeared in the Toronto Star.

The post The climax of the Emergencies Act hearings is supposed to be Trudeau (but it wasn’t) appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Raging Wars, Soaring Hunger Put Women and Girls in Crosshairs, Warns UN

Common Dreams - Fri, 11/25/2022 - 08:58
"A toxic mix of crises—conflicts, climate, skyrocketing costs, and the ripple effects of the Ukraine war—are inflicting a devastating toll on the forcibly displaced. This is being felt across the world, but women and girls are particularly suffering."
Categories: F. Left News

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