From Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources Facebook Page:

On this day (February 5) in 1948 the US Congress passed legislation (25 USC 323) empowering the Secretary of the Interior to grant rights-of-way for various purposes across Native American lands.

The legislation grants for all purposes over and across any lands held in trust by the United States for individual Indians or Indian tribes, communities, bands, or nations, or any lands owned, subject to restrictions against alienation, by individual Indians or Indian tribes, communities, bands, or nations, including the lands belonging to the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico, and any other lands acquired or set aside for the use and benefit of the Indians. In some instances, the legislation gives the Secretary of the Interior power to grant rights-of-way without the permission of the tribe. The full suite of regulations promulgated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) under this legislation is available at 25 CFR 169.

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I normally don’t use Tumblr for ranting, but being around family for the Holidays, I find myself so frustrated with the weird binary thinking of Western “patriots”.
People who think America is a great country with a great past that we need to “get back to”. Just. Stop. This country was built on the genocide of indigenous people, and built by a totally separate group of indigenous people who were stolen from across the ocean, all to benefit a class of white, capitalist rulers who have nothing to do with either the land or the stolen labor force. And neither the indigenous people who were subjected to a colossal genocide, nor the indigenous people who were stolen from Africa to build this country have ever recovered from what was done to them. And since rising to super-power status via military dominance, & economic/military coups, thievery, and colonialism across Asia & the Middle East, the nation has used its swelling conquests to fuel the strength of the empire, which continues to stretch across the globe to this very day.
There were never any good old days. America has never been good. Never. If evil exists, it’s the Western ideology that allows otherwise ‘kind’ and ‘good’ people to believe that this history & these current wars for domination aren’t enough to tarnish the entire history of this ugly country. How can people continue to swear fealty to the red, white and blue flags and sing songs praising this fucking country? I just don’t get it. And when I stop to think about it for too long, I get so angry. I want to shake everyone around me and ask “why?” or “how?” How do you differentiate between the morality of America and Nazi Germany? What about America seems better than Nazi Germany to you (really answer if you believe America is better than Nazi Germany, I’m genuinely curious what the line of thinking is)? If Nazi Germany had won their bid for conquest, don’t you think we’d all be singing songs and praising the Nazi flag, while talking about the importance of the great “founding” Nazi fathers?
Why do you salute the troops – who I don’t mean to demonize, who I genuinely pity, but who I also think are anything but heroes. Bullies, probably. Victims, definitely. But heroes? Really?! Give me a break! They fly around the world terrorizing civilians & political dissidents in their own countries. Yuck.
For decades, the ruling elite super-rich capitalists have been able to offer a standard of living to the working poor in America that is better than the alternative – living in the chaos and squalor that their own policies have created for the poor around the world. But in the age of information, can empathetic people really continue to support this country? We don’t have to. We can live a different way. We’re so far off from utopia but the conditions for a different world are so promising. The empire is seemingly stretched to capacity, and stretching further still (see the troops the U.S. is sending across three dozen African countries in 2013 that we posted about yesterday), class-consciousness and an awareness of the inherently horrible nature of capitalism in this country is higher than it’s been, maybe since the 30s. We can’t lose sight of the context of what we’re fighting for and what we have to fight against. Again, the conditions are promising; movements with the capacity to really affect global change are actually building and we have a responsibility to participate in them. Seriously.
-Robert 

I normally don’t use Tumblr for ranting, but being around family for the Holidays, I find myself so frustrated with the weird binary thinking of Western “patriots”.

People who think America is a great country with a great past that we need to “get back to”. Just. Stop. This country was built on the genocide of indigenous people, and built by a totally separate group of indigenous people who were stolen from across the ocean, all to benefit a class of white, capitalist rulers who have nothing to do with either the land or the stolen labor force. And neither the indigenous people who were subjected to a colossal genocide, nor the indigenous people who were stolen from Africa to build this country have ever recovered from what was done to them. And since rising to super-power status via military dominance, & economic/military coups, thievery, and colonialism across Asia & the Middle East, the nation has used its swelling conquests to fuel the strength of the empire, which continues to stretch across the globe to this very day.

There were never any good old days. America has never been good. Never. If evil exists, it’s the Western ideology that allows otherwise ‘kind’ and ‘good’ people to believe that this history & these current wars for domination aren’t enough to tarnish the entire history of this ugly country. How can people continue to swear fealty to the red, white and blue flags and sing songs praising this fucking country? I just don’t get it. And when I stop to think about it for too long, I get so angry. I want to shake everyone around me and ask “why?” or “how?” How do you differentiate between the morality of America and Nazi Germany? What about America seems better than Nazi Germany to you (really answer if you believe America is better than Nazi Germany, I’m genuinely curious what the line of thinking is)? If Nazi Germany had won their bid for conquest, don’t you think we’d all be singing songs and praising the Nazi flag, while talking about the importance of the great “founding” Nazi fathers?

Why do you salute the troops – who I don’t mean to demonize, who I genuinely pity, but who I also think are anything but heroes. Bullies, probably. Victims, definitely. But heroes? Really?! Give me a break! They fly around the world terrorizing civilians & political dissidents in their own countries. Yuck.

For decades, the ruling elite super-rich capitalists have been able to offer a standard of living to the working poor in America that is better than the alternative – living in the chaos and squalor that their own policies have created for the poor around the world. But in the age of information, can empathetic people really continue to support this country? We don’t have to. We can live a different way. We’re so far off from utopia but the conditions for a different world are so promising. The empire is seemingly stretched to capacity, and stretching further still (see the troops the U.S. is sending across three dozen African countries in 2013 that we posted about yesterday), class-consciousness and an awareness of the inherently horrible nature of capitalism in this country is higher than it’s been, maybe since the 30s. We can’t lose sight of the context of what we’re fighting for and what we have to fight against. Again, the conditions are promising; movements with the capacity to really affect global change are actually building and we have a responsibility to participate in them. Seriously.

-Robert 

The voices of many scholars, activists, journalists, political prisoners and academics on the Prison Industrial Complex. 

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Find The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander here for more information about the prison-industrial-complex and today’s greatest fight against racism in America. 

And watch a talk about the fight against the New Jim Crow here

Nobel laureates slam the US over Bradley Manning case
November 16, 2012
Leaders of the United States have insulted the intelligence of the rest of the world, three Nobel laureates write this week, because of their continuously perverse mishandling of the case against accused WikiLeaks source Pfc Bradley Manning.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel have authored a statement to be published in an upcoming issue of The Nation that condemns the United States’ persecution of the 24-year-old Army private and implores the rest of America to question the country’s secretive torture of a soldier that the prize winners say defended democracy.
“As people who have worked for decades against the increased militarization of societies and for international cooperation to end war, we are deeply dismayed by the treatment of Pfc Bradley Manning,” the laureates write.
“Questioning authority, as a soldier, is not easy.But it can at times be honorable. The words attributed to Manning reveal that he went through a profound moral struggle between the time he enlisted and when he became a whistleblower. Through his experience in Iraq, he became disturbed by top-level policy that undervalued human life and caused the suffering of innocent civilians and soldiers. Like other courageous whistleblowers, he was driven foremost by a desire to reveal the truth.”
According to military prosecutors, Manning aided al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula by providing Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks site with hundreds of thousands of sensitive files, including diplomatic cables and a controversial video of US troops executing civilians from an Apache helicopter over Iraq. Earlier this month, just shy of his nine-hundredth day under military custody where he suffers from conditions considered torturous by the United Nations, Manning told a judge during a pretrial motion hearing that he was willing to accept responsibility for contributing to the whistleblower website. Defense attorneys hope that the government takes the plea, relieving Manning from the harshest of the charges against him, including aiding the enemy and espionage, in exchange for admitting general fault. If his plea notice is rejected and Manning is court-martialed and convicted on those charges, however, the government could ask for a sentence of life in prison.
In the letter from Tutu, Maguireand Esquivel, the laureates say Manning needs to be honored if he has done as accused, not made America’s whipping boy for blowing the whistle. Earlier this year, Manning was nominated himself for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize by the Movement of the Icelandic Parliament, though the award was ultimately presented to the European Union.
“Private Manning said in chat logs that he hoped the releases would bring ‘discussion, debates and reforms’ and condemned the ways the ‘first world exploits the third,’” the laureates write. “Much of the world regards him as a hero for these efforts toward peace and transparency, and he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as a result. However, much as when high-ranking officials in the United States and Britain misled the public in 2003 by saying there was an imminent need to invade Iraq to stop it from using weapons of mass destruction, the world’s most powerful elites have again insulted international opinion and the intelligence of many citizens by withholding facts regarding Manning and WikiLeaks.”
“The military prosecution has not presented evidence that Private Manning injured anyone by releasing secret documents, and it has asserted in court that the charge of ‘aiding the enemy through indirect means’ does not require it to do so. Nor has the prosecution denied that his motivations were conscientious; it has simply argued they are irrelevant. In ignoring this context and recommending a much more severe punishment for Bradley Manning than is given to US soldiers guilty of murdering civilians, military leadership is sending a chilling warning to other soldiers who might feel compelled by conscience to reveal misdeeds. It is our belief that leaders who use fear to govern, rather than sharing wisdom born from facts, cannot be just.”
Manning was one of just six persons charged by the Obama administration under the antiquated, World War One-era Espionage Act of 1917, until last week when Navy linguist James Hitselberger became number seven in the president’s perpetually growing list of persons targeted for allegedly airing state secrets.
Earlier this month, former CIA agent John Kiriakou, who was prosecuted by the government for blowing the whistle on the enhanced interrogation practices enforced on suspected terrorists under President George W. Bush, was presented in Washington with a Callaway Awards for Civic Courage because of his commitment to exposing the government’s wrongdoings.
“I may have been on the wrong side of the government, but in my heart I’m on the right side of history,” Kiriakou said during his acceptance speech. Kiriakou was expected to be sentenced to upwards of 45 years in prison for his whistleblowing until he, like Manning very might, pleaded to lesser crimes in exchange for a weaker sentence.
According to chat logs the government says show a confession between Private first class Manning and confidant Adrian Lamo, the soldier said he hoped the leaks would expose “one of the more significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetrical warfare.” The letter published in The Nation echoes that explanation and asks Americans to reconsider what Manning is accused of — an action that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says was an impetus in ending the Iraq War.
“We Nobel Peace Prize laureates condemn the persecution Bradley Manning has suffered, including imprisonment in conditions declared ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading’ by the United Nations, and call upon Americans to stand up in support of this whistleblower who defended their democratic rights,” the award winners write. “In the conflict in Iraq alone, more than 110,000 people have died since 2003, millions have been displaced and nearly 4,500 American soldiers have been killed. If someone needs to be held accountable for endangering Americans and civilians, let’s first take the time to examine the evidence regarding high-level crimes already committed, and what lessons can be learned. If Bradley Manning released the documents, as the prosecution contends, we should express to him our gratitude for his efforts toward accountability in government, informed democracy and peace.”
Source

Nobel laureates slam the US over Bradley Manning case

November 16, 2012

Leaders of the United States have insulted the intelligence of the rest of the world, three Nobel laureates write this week, because of their continuously perverse mishandling of the case against accused WikiLeaks source Pfc Bradley Manning.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel have authored a statement to be published in an upcoming issue of The Nation that condemns the United States’ persecution of the 24-year-old Army private and implores the rest of America to question the country’s secretive torture of a soldier that the prize winners say defended democracy.

“As people who have worked for decades against the increased militarization of societies and for international cooperation to end war, we are deeply dismayed by the treatment of Pfc Bradley Manning,” the laureates write.

Questioning authority, as a soldier, is not easy.But it can at times be honorable. The words attributed to Manning reveal that he went through a profound moral struggle between the time he enlisted and when he became a whistleblower. Through his experience in Iraq, he became disturbed by top-level policy that undervalued human life and caused the suffering of innocent civilians and soldiers. Like other courageous whistleblowers, he was driven foremost by a desire to reveal the truth.”

According to military prosecutors, Manning aided al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula by providing Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks site with hundreds of thousands of sensitive files, including diplomatic cables and a controversial video of US troops executing civilians from an Apache helicopter over Iraq. Earlier this month, just shy of his nine-hundredth day under military custody where he suffers from conditions considered torturous by the United Nations, Manning told a judge during a pretrial motion hearing that he was willing to accept responsibility for contributing to the whistleblower website. Defense attorneys hope that the government takes the plea, relieving Manning from the harshest of the charges against him, including aiding the enemy and espionage, in exchange for admitting general fault. If his plea notice is rejected and Manning is court-martialed and convicted on those charges, however, the government could ask for a sentence of life in prison.

In the letter from Tutu, Maguireand Esquivel, the laureates say Manning needs to be honored if he has done as accused, not made America’s whipping boy for blowing the whistle. Earlier this year, Manning was nominated himself for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize by the Movement of the Icelandic Parliament, though the award was ultimately presented to the European Union.

“Private Manning said in chat logs that he hoped the releases would bring ‘discussion, debates and reforms’ and condemned the ways the ‘first world exploits the third,’” the laureates write. “Much of the world regards him as a hero for these efforts toward peace and transparency, and he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as a result. However, much as when high-ranking officials in the United States and Britain misled the public in 2003 by saying there was an imminent need to invade Iraq to stop it from using weapons of mass destruction, the world’s most powerful elites have again insulted international opinion and the intelligence of many citizens by withholding facts regarding Manning and WikiLeaks.

“The military prosecution has not presented evidence that Private Manning injured anyone by releasing secret documents, and it has asserted in court that the charge of ‘aiding the enemy through indirect means’ does not require it to do so. Nor has the prosecution denied that his motivations were conscientious; it has simply argued they are irrelevant. In ignoring this context and recommending a much more severe punishment for Bradley Manning than is given to US soldiers guilty of murdering civilians, military leadership is sending a chilling warning to other soldiers who might feel compelled by conscience to reveal misdeeds. It is our belief that leaders who use fear to govern, rather than sharing wisdom born from facts, cannot be just.”

Manning was one of just six persons charged by the Obama administration under the antiquated, World War One-era Espionage Act of 1917, until last week when Navy linguist James Hitselberger became number seven in the president’s perpetually growing list of persons targeted for allegedly airing state secrets.

Earlier this month, former CIA agent John Kiriakou, who was prosecuted by the government for blowing the whistle on the enhanced interrogation practices enforced on suspected terrorists under President George W. Bush, was presented in Washington with a Callaway Awards for Civic Courage because of his commitment to exposing the government’s wrongdoings.

“I may have been on the wrong side of the government, but in my heart I’m on the right side of history,” Kiriakou said during his acceptance speech. Kiriakou was expected to be sentenced to upwards of 45 years in prison for his whistleblowing until he, like Manning very might, pleaded to lesser crimes in exchange for a weaker sentence.

According to chat logs the government says show a confession between Private first class Manning and confidant Adrian Lamo, the soldier said he hoped the leaks would expose “one of the more significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetrical warfare.” The letter published in The Nation echoes that explanation and asks Americans to reconsider what Manning is accused of — an action that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says was an impetus in ending the Iraq War.

We Nobel Peace Prize laureates condemn the persecution Bradley Manning has suffered, including imprisonment in conditions declared ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading’ by the United Nations, and call upon Americans to stand up in support of this whistleblower who defended their democratic rights,” the award winners write. “In the conflict in Iraq alone, more than 110,000 people have died since 2003, millions have been displaced and nearly 4,500 American soldiers have been killed. If someone needs to be held accountable for endangering Americans and civilians, let’s first take the time to examine the evidence regarding high-level crimes already committed, and what lessons can be learned. If Bradley Manning released the documents, as the prosecution contends, we should express to him our gratitude for his efforts toward accountability in government, informed democracy and peace.

Source

Boots on the ground: Obama’s cybersecurity directive could allow military deployment within the US
November 16, 2012
The White House is being asked by attorneys to explain a top-secret presidential policy directive signed last month that may allow for the domestic deployment of the US military for the sake of so-called cybersecurity.
Lawyers with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the office of US President Barack Obama in hopes if hearing more about an elusive order signed in secrecy in mid-October but only made public in an article published this week in the Washington Post.
According to persons close to the White House who have seen the order and spoke with the Post, Presidential Policy Directive 20 (PP20) aims to “finalize new rules of engagement that would guide commanders when and how the military can go outside government networks to prevent a cyberattack that could cause significant destruction or casualties.” Attorneys with EPIC are now demanding that they see this secret order to find out what exactly that could mean, citing the possibility of putting boots on the ground in the United States if the government argues it’s imperative for cybersecurity.
In the FOIA request, EPIC attorneys Amie Stepanovich and Ginger McCall ask to see information about PP20 because they fear it may enable “military deployment within the United States” by way of a “secret law” that lets the National Security Agency and Pentagon put armed forces in charge of protecting America’s cyberinfrastructure and crucial routes of communications.
“We don’t know what’s in this policy directive and we feel the American public has the right to know,” McCall tells Raw Story this week.
On her part, Stepanovich adds that getting to the truth of the matter could be a nightmare given the NSA’s tendency to keep these sorts of things secret.
“The NSA’s cyber security operations have been kept very, very secret, and because of that it has been impossible for the public to react to them,” Stepanovich adds. “[That makes it] very difficult, we believe, for Congress to legislate in this area. It’s in the public’s best interest, from a knowledge perspective and from a legislative perspective, to be made aware of what authority the NSA is being given.”
The potential of martial law became a topic actually discussed by Congress last year when lawmakers first considered provisions for this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA. Before the House and Senate agreed on including a section to the law letting the White House arrest and detain any US citizen indefinitely without trial or charge, another provision was almost put on the books that would have essentially allowed for military rule during some situations.
The NDAA’s S. 1867 would “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a supporter of the bill, said last year.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H) agreed with his colleague’s claim, telling Congress that “America is part of the battlefield” suggesting that the laws of war are applicable anywhere, even in someone’s own backyard.
EPIC writes that PPD 20 “may violate federal law that prohibits military deployment within the United States without congressional approval” if their worse fear prove correct.
According to the Post’s tale on the directive, the Pentagon now has blueprints to wage more offensive cyberassaults on entities that may be jeopardizing the cybersecurity of domestic computer systems. How they do that, however, remains an issue that the FOIA request will have to coerce from Washington.
Source

Boots on the ground: Obama’s cybersecurity directive could allow military deployment within the US

November 16, 2012

The White House is being asked by attorneys to explain a top-secret presidential policy directive signed last month that may allow for the domestic deployment of the US military for the sake of so-called cybersecurity.

Lawyers with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the office of US President Barack Obama in hopes if hearing more about an elusive order signed in secrecy in mid-October but only made public in an article published this week in the Washington Post.

According to persons close to the White House who have seen the order and spoke with the Post, Presidential Policy Directive 20 (PP20) aims to “finalize new rules of engagement that would guide commanders when and how the military can go outside government networks to prevent a cyberattack that could cause significant destruction or casualties.” Attorneys with EPIC are now demanding that they see this secret order to find out what exactly that could mean, citing the possibility of putting boots on the ground in the United States if the government argues it’s imperative for cybersecurity.

In the FOIA request, EPIC attorneys Amie Stepanovich and Ginger McCall ask to see information about PP20 because they fear it may enable “military deployment within the United States” by way of a “secret law” that lets the National Security Agency and Pentagon put armed forces in charge of protecting America’s cyberinfrastructure and crucial routes of communications.

“We don’t know what’s in this policy directive and we feel the American public has the right to know,” McCall tells Raw Story this week.

On her part, Stepanovich adds that getting to the truth of the matter could be a nightmare given the NSA’s tendency to keep these sorts of things secret.

“The NSA’s cyber security operations have been kept very, very secret, and because of that it has been impossible for the public to react to them,” Stepanovich adds. “[That makes it] very difficult, we believe, for Congress to legislate in this area. It’s in the public’s best interest, from a knowledge perspective and from a legislative perspective, to be made aware of what authority the NSA is being given.”

The potential of martial law became a topic actually discussed by Congress last year when lawmakers first considered provisions for this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA. Before the House and Senate agreed on including a section to the law letting the White House arrest and detain any US citizen indefinitely without trial or charge, another provision was almost put on the books that would have essentially allowed for military rule during some situations.

The NDAA’s S. 1867 would “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a supporter of the bill, said last year.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H) agreed with his colleague’s claim, telling Congress that “America is part of the battlefield” suggesting that the laws of war are applicable anywhere, even in someone’s own backyard.

EPIC writes that PPD 20 “may violate federal law that prohibits military deployment within the United States without congressional approval” if their worse fear prove correct.

According to the Post’s tale on the directive, the Pentagon now has blueprints to wage more offensive cyberassaults on entities that may be jeopardizing the cybersecurity of domestic computer systems. How they do that, however, remains an issue that the FOIA request will have to coerce from Washington.

Source

Myanmar announces amnesty for 452 jail inmates in “goodwill gesture” 
November 15, 2012
Myanmar has pardoned hundreds of prisoners under an amnesty that appears to be a goodwill gesture just days before a visit by US President Barack Obama. 
The government ordered the release of 452 prison inmates on Thursday in a move criticised by pro-democracy activists for allegedly failing to grant freedom to many political detainees.
It was not immediately clear if any jailed dissidents were among those given amnesty, prompting rights groups to renew calls for officials to bring transparency to one of the world’s most opaque prison systems.
Myanmar has long insisted that all prisoners are criminals and release no official information on political detainees.
"This is extremely disappointing because we haven’t heard of any political prisoners being released. This is a shame,” said U Naing Naing of the Central Social Assistance Committee, which helps families of political prisoners.
Other groups that monitor political prisoners gave similar reports. Many political detainees are in remote areas where communications are difficult, so the extent of the release may not be known for several days.
State media said some of the prisoners to be released are foreigners who will be extradited, but gave no details.
—
Human Rights Watch (HRW), the New York-based watchdog group, accused the government of using strategically timed prisoner releases to appease the international community.
"The government of Burma has said they are committed to releasing all political prisoners. So why haven’t they?” Phil Robertson, the group’s deputy Asia director, said.
"This whole process is being drawn out unnecessarily to maximise the Burmese government’s leverage with the international community."
The last release took place in September, a week before Thein Sein visited New York for the UN General Assembly.
Thein Sein’s government has spearheaded a major transition towards democracy, easing harsh media censorship, signing ceasefire deals with armed rebel groups, and opening the country more to Western investment.
But rights groups say Thein Sein has not yet consolidated the political and economic reforms. The military is still dominant and is commonly implicated in rights abuses.
Source
Funny, you’d think they’d jail more political prisoners in anticipation of an American President’s visit, not release them. 

Myanmar announces amnesty for 452 jail inmates in “goodwill gesture” 

November 15, 2012

Myanmar has pardoned hundreds of prisoners under an amnesty that appears to be a goodwill gesture just days before a visit by US President Barack Obama. 

The government ordered the release of 452 prison inmates on Thursday in a move criticised by pro-democracy activists for allegedly failing to grant freedom to many political detainees.

It was not immediately clear if any jailed dissidents were among those given amnesty, prompting rights groups to renew calls for officials to bring transparency to one of the world’s most opaque prison systems.

Myanmar has long insisted that all prisoners are criminals and release no official information on political detainees.

"This is extremely disappointing because we haven’t heard of any political prisoners being released. This is a shame,” said U Naing Naing of the Central Social Assistance Committee, which helps families of political prisoners.

Other groups that monitor political prisoners gave similar reports. Many political detainees are in remote areas where communications are difficult, so the extent of the release may not be known for several days.

State media said some of the prisoners to be released are foreigners who will be extradited, but gave no details.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), the New York-based watchdog group, accused the government of using strategically timed prisoner releases to appease the international community.

"The government of Burma has said they are committed to releasing all political prisoners. So why haven’t they?” Phil Robertson, the group’s deputy Asia director, said.

"This whole process is being drawn out unnecessarily to maximise the Burmese government’s leverage with the international community."

The last release took place in September, a week before Thein Sein visited New York for the UN General Assembly.

Thein Sein’s government has spearheaded a major transition towards democracy, easing harsh media censorship, signing ceasefire deals with armed rebel groups, and opening the country more to Western investment.

But rights groups say Thein Sein has not yet consolidated the political and economic reforms. The military is still dominant and is commonly implicated in rights abuses.

Source

Funny, you’d think they’d jail more political prisoners in anticipation of an American President’s visit, not release them. 

The “McDonaldization” of Justice
November 14, 2012
Between 1925 to 1974, the U.S had an incarceration rate between 90 and 150 per 100,000 people.  Today, that rate is seven times that. Researcher Matthew DeMichele, Ph.D and Postdoctoral Scholar at the Penn State Justice Center, likens our current justice system to fast-food restaurants, “in which quality goes out the window, and quantity takes over. Why is this and how did it come to be this way? Below, DeMichele discusses his research work to answer to that question as well as provide effective alternatives to methods of mass incarceration: 
—-
DeMichele: The U.S. incarcerates more people than any Western democracy. Our incarceration rates are roughly seven to ten times larger than other similar countries. In fact, we have an incarceration rate over 700 per 100,000 adults, whereas Australia, Canada, and Germany have rates between 90 and 150 per 100,000 in the population. Strangely, the incarceration rate in the U.S. remained around 120 per 100,000 from 1925 to 1974. Then, something happened to cause a drastic change to how we punish. No longer were law breakers to be rehabilitated or reintegrated into society. No longer were criminal justice officials expected to find ways to alleviate incarceration. Instead, the criminal justice system focused on efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and managerialism. And, to some extent, the justice system adopted the mentality of fast-food restaurants in which quality goes out the window, and quantity takes over. Simultaneous to the McDonalidization of justice, the U.S. also experienced drastic shifts in the treatment of working class populations with the discrediting of unions and labor protections.
Some years ago I began studying why the U.S. incarcerates so many more people compared to other countries and why we lock-up so many more now than in the past. Ironically, I was surprised to find that crime had not increased during this time, but rather decreased. So, I knew other mechanisms were at play, but what could be driving such an approach to justice? I looked at our legal system and how it is embedded within a particular political-economic culture.
Some countries choose to incarcerate, whereas others seek to treat the underlying causes of crime as a manifestation of social problems through welfare, education, and vocational training.
An inherent feature of capitalist societies is that there are poor people. In fact, capitalism is an economic approach that relies on income inequality to motivate the public. This approach allows some to amass great wealth, develops a strong middle class, and supports innovation, but it also promotes some of the largest income gaps in the world. All governments have approaches to dealing with individuals that fall to the bottom of the economic ladder. These people can be thought of as William Julius Wilson’s underclass in which they are trapped in a feedback look of poverty, criminality and substance abuse. Some countries choose to incarcerate, whereas others seek to treat the underlying causes of crime as a manifestation of social problems through welfare, education, and vocational training.
Of course, poverty is not unique to the U.S. What is unique to the U.S. is how we have decided to treat our underclass. We have decided to demonize, criminalize, and institutionalize large sections of our population. Policy choices have been made to limit public education, welfare, and ameliorative approaches for the underclass. Instead, we have built more jails and prisons, hired more police officers, and passed laws for longer sentences.
I argue that in the U.S. there is a relatively unique way of thinking about crime, criminals, and crime control. This way of thinking encourages a high degree of subjectivity in legal decisions. U.S. prosecutors have an unheard of amount of discretion compared to other countries. Similarly, U.S. judges have little oversight and tremendous flexibility when making decisions. These may sound like small things, but they allow prosecutors and judges – many of which are elected – to make decisions with little evidence of their effectiveness. And, they are situated within a social narrative dedicated to punitiveness in which each legal actor tries to be more punitive than the next. This becomes most obvious during election cycles in which prosecutors and judges profess their commitment to incarceration. No doubt this is something that appeals to voters, especially because most of the people that have been incarcerated cannot vote due to felony restrictions.
Legal culture alone has not made the incarceration boom possible. Instead, our legal system is embedded within a political-economic context in which conservative politics have replaced the once dominant social contract. At least since the mid-1970s, the U.S. political environment has shifted toward the right. This shift has altered the nature of the right-left divide in which, as Paul Pierson documented in Off-Center: A Republican Revolution, centrist political expectations have moved toward the right. Many may wonder what this has to do with incarceration. First, the adversarial nature of our criminal justice system ensures that the poorest of in our society are most susceptible to punishment. Second, working class protections such as powerful unions, wage negotiations, and welfare programs have been severely cut, if not eliminated. Third, mental health facilities have been closed, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics tells us that a bulk of jail inmates have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. Combining a legal culture favoring the wealthy, a society that limits worker protections, and the incarceration of the mentally ill creates a powder keg in which mass incarceration is nearly inevitable.
The question now is how to do we stop? How do we shift from a mass incarceration society to a society that consciously works to reduce the inequality of our justice system? I should point out that I do not have all the answers, and, if I did, they could not be spelled out so clearly in this short essay. However, what I do know is that the mass incarceration of adults, of children, and of the mentally ill is a result of policies. It is not an unintended consequence. No, mass incarceration has occurred because policymakers have passed laws that require long sentences, they have dedicated money to hiring more police, they have broadened prosecutorial discretion, among other changes. And, let us not forget that alternatives are available. Instead, of building prisons, we could build schools. Instead, of hiring more cops, we could hire more teachers. And, instead of sending the mentally ill to jails and prisons, we could be dedicated to understanding mental illness and treating it like any other medical condition.
There is no scientific evidence supporting prison as a way to improve people.
These are only a few policy suggestions, but what is really needed is a new way to think about crime, criminals, and crime control. Some may think I am suggesting that we go “soft” on violent criminals. I am not. Some people do very bad things and need to be separated from society. But, we need to restrain the use of institutionalization and use it as sparingly as possible. We also must keep in mind that when a child commits such an act, the neighborhood, community, and society in which they live are responsible. When children commit heinous crimes, and a few do, we must ask: how did our education, welfare, and child protection services fail these children? There is no scientific evidence supporting prison as a way to improve people. Just as we know that eating too much fast-food leads to obesity and a host of health problems, we also know that a fast-food approach to justice fosters a host of social problems.
Source

The “McDonaldization” of Justice

November 14, 2012

Between 1925 to 1974, the U.S had an incarceration rate between 90 and 150 per 100,000 people.  Today, that rate is seven times that. Researcher Matthew DeMichele, Ph.D and Postdoctoral Scholar at the Penn State Justice Center, likens our current justice system to fast-food restaurants, “in which quality goes out the window, and quantity takes over. Why is this and how did it come to be this way? Below, DeMichele discusses his research work to answer to that question as well as provide effective alternatives to methods of mass incarceration: 

—-

DeMichele: The U.S. incarcerates more people than any Western democracy. Our incarceration rates are roughly seven to ten times larger than other similar countries. In fact, we have an incarceration rate over 700 per 100,000 adults, whereas Australia, Canada, and Germany have rates between 90 and 150 per 100,000 in the population. Strangely, the incarceration rate in the U.S. remained around 120 per 100,000 from 1925 to 1974. Then, something happened to cause a drastic change to how we punish. No longer were law breakers to be rehabilitated or reintegrated into society. No longer were criminal justice officials expected to find ways to alleviate incarceration. Instead, the criminal justice system focused on efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and managerialism. And, to some extent, the justice system adopted the mentality of fast-food restaurants in which quality goes out the window, and quantity takes over. Simultaneous to the McDonalidization of justice, the U.S. also experienced drastic shifts in the treatment of working class populations with the discrediting of unions and labor protections.

Some years ago I began studying why the U.S. incarcerates so many more people compared to other countries and why we lock-up so many more now than in the past. Ironically, I was surprised to find that crime had not increased during this time, but rather decreased. So, I knew other mechanisms were at play, but what could be driving such an approach to justice? I looked at our legal system and how it is embedded within a particular political-economic culture.

Some countries choose to incarcerate, whereas others seek to treat the underlying causes of crime as a manifestation of social problems through welfare, education, and vocational training.

An inherent feature of capitalist societies is that there are poor people. In fact, capitalism is an economic approach that relies on income inequality to motivate the public. This approach allows some to amass great wealth, develops a strong middle class, and supports innovation, but it also promotes some of the largest income gaps in the world. All governments have approaches to dealing with individuals that fall to the bottom of the economic ladder. These people can be thought of as William Julius Wilson’s underclass in which they are trapped in a feedback look of poverty, criminality and substance abuse. Some countries choose to incarcerate, whereas others seek to treat the underlying causes of crime as a manifestation of social problems through welfare, education, and vocational training.

Of course, poverty is not unique to the U.S. What is unique to the U.S. is how we have decided to treat our underclass. We have decided to demonize, criminalize, and institutionalize large sections of our population. Policy choices have been made to limit public education, welfare, and ameliorative approaches for the underclass. Instead, we have built more jails and prisons, hired more police officers, and passed laws for longer sentences.

I argue that in the U.S. there is a relatively unique way of thinking about crime, criminals, and crime control. This way of thinking encourages a high degree of subjectivity in legal decisions. U.S. prosecutors have an unheard of amount of discretion compared to other countries. Similarly, U.S. judges have little oversight and tremendous flexibility when making decisions. These may sound like small things, but they allow prosecutors and judges – many of which are elected – to make decisions with little evidence of their effectiveness. And, they are situated within a social narrative dedicated to punitiveness in which each legal actor tries to be more punitive than the next. This becomes most obvious during election cycles in which prosecutors and judges profess their commitment to incarceration. No doubt this is something that appeals to voters, especially because most of the people that have been incarcerated cannot vote due to felony restrictions.

Legal culture alone has not made the incarceration boom possible. Instead, our legal system is embedded within a political-economic context in which conservative politics have replaced the once dominant social contract. At least since the mid-1970s, the U.S. political environment has shifted toward the right. This shift has altered the nature of the right-left divide in which, as Paul Pierson documented in Off-Center: A Republican Revolution, centrist political expectations have moved toward the right. Many may wonder what this has to do with incarceration. First, the adversarial nature of our criminal justice system ensures that the poorest of in our society are most susceptible to punishment. Second, working class protections such as powerful unions, wage negotiations, and welfare programs have been severely cut, if not eliminated. Third, mental health facilities have been closed, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics tells us that a bulk of jail inmates have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. Combining a legal culture favoring the wealthy, a society that limits worker protections, and the incarceration of the mentally ill creates a powder keg in which mass incarceration is nearly inevitable.

The question now is how to do we stop? How do we shift from a mass incarceration society to a society that consciously works to reduce the inequality of our justice system? I should point out that I do not have all the answers, and, if I did, they could not be spelled out so clearly in this short essay. However, what I do know is that the mass incarceration of adults, of children, and of the mentally ill is a result of policies. It is not an unintended consequence. No, mass incarceration has occurred because policymakers have passed laws that require long sentences, they have dedicated money to hiring more police, they have broadened prosecutorial discretion, among other changes. And, let us not forget that alternatives are available. Instead, of building prisons, we could build schools. Instead, of hiring more cops, we could hire more teachers. And, instead of sending the mentally ill to jails and prisons, we could be dedicated to understanding mental illness and treating it like any other medical condition.

There is no scientific evidence supporting prison as a way to improve people.

These are only a few policy suggestions, but what is really needed is a new way to think about crime, criminals, and crime control. Some may think I am suggesting that we go “soft” on violent criminals. I am not. Some people do very bad things and need to be separated from society. But, we need to restrain the use of institutionalization and use it as sparingly as possible. We also must keep in mind that when a child commits such an act, the neighborhood, community, and society in which they live are responsible. When children commit heinous crimes, and a few do, we must ask: how did our education, welfare, and child protection services fail these children? There is no scientific evidence supporting prison as a way to improve people. Just as we know that eating too much fast-food leads to obesity and a host of health problems, we also know that a fast-food approach to justice fosters a host of social problems.

Source

RT presents third-party presidential debate with Larry King

October 19, 2012

When the dust settles after next week’s third and final debate between US President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, Americans will be left to choose between just two men to run the country. Unless, of course, they turn to RT.

In response to widespread blackout from both the mainstream media and political establishment alike, RT is honored to be presenting a platform for the major third-party candidates also vying for the White House this election year to debate. The event will be moderated by multi-award winning broadcast journalist Larry King and will be broadcast live from Chicago, Illinois on October 23. RT America and RT.com will offer the event live in cooperation with the debate’s organizers, the Free and Equal Elections Foundation.

Thom Hartmann, the star of RT’s The Big Picture and noted radio host, is one of a few select journalists hand-picked to hit the candidates with questions about their campaign.

Despite having their platforms largely silenced by the elites of a two-party political system, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode and Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson plan to continue their campaign through Election Day. Since their thoughts on issues critical to voters has been muted by the mainstream media, however, their arguments for how they envision America under their own leadership has been left in the dark.

“The previous debates between President Obama and Governor Romney have failed to address the issues that really concern everyday Americans. From foreign policy, to the economy, to taboo subjects like our diminishing civil liberties and the drug war, Americans deserve a real debate, real solutions and real electoral options,” Free & Equal Founder Christina Tobin tells the press.

Larry King, who retired from his role as CNN commentator just last year, says in a press release for the event that being given the opportunity to test the wits of the third-party candidates is “a truly exciting opportunity.”

“I have interviewed every US President since Nixon, and lest people forget, I helped usher Ross Perot into the national conversation during the 1992 presidential contest. I appreciate the importance of providing a platform to those with real alternative visions for our country’s future,” King says.

RT America will begin its pre-debate coverage at 8pm US Eastern on October 23 (00:00GMT and 04:00MSK October 24) with a panel of journalists and commentators including our own Thom Hartmann weighing in on this year’s election. Arguments from the candidates themselves will be underway an hour later when Mr. King takes over.

Source

Americans already detained under NDAA?
September 28, 2012
The plaintiffs that are suing US President Barack Obama over his insistence on keeping the National Defense Authorization Act on the books said Thursday that they fear Americans are already being held indefinitely and without trial under the NDAA.
US President Barack Obama refrained from even once commenting on his efforts to keep his power to indefinitely detain Americans without charge when he appeared on Reddit.com recently and urged users to “Ask Me Anything.” His opponents in the matter aren’t shying away from speaking up online, though.
The plaintiffs in the case to ban the White House from imprisoning Americans indefinitely without trial or due justice took to Reddit on Thursday to answer questions involving the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012, or the NDAA, and blamed corrupt media and a broken governmental establishment for letting the Obama administration maintain its to book Americans in military prisons without charge.
On December 31, 2011, President Obama authorized the NDAA, and with it he approved a controversial provision that permits the government to indefinitely detain US citizens without trial for mere allegations of ties to suspected terrorists. Journalists and activists filed a lawsuit against the president earlier this year over the provision, Section 1021, which US Federal Judge Katherine Forrest in turn agreed was unconstitutional. Last month Judge Forrest decided that anearlier, temporary injunction on the clause should be made permanent, but the Obama Justice Department pleaded for an emergency stay only hours later. A lone federal appeals judge has since heard that plea and has momentarilyblocked Judge Forrest’s injunction. Now pending the results of an appeals panel’s formal investigation, the NDAA’s indefinite detention provision remains on the books.
On Thursday, the plaintiffs in the case — journalist Chris Hedges, activist Tangerine Bolen, Pentagon Papers leaker Dan Ellsberg, their attorneys and others — told users of Reddit to ask them anything.
“The Obama DOJ has vigorously opposed these efforts, and immediately appealed her ruling and requested an emergency stay on the injunction – claiming the US would incur ‘irreparable harm’ if the president lost the power to use Section 1021 – and detain anyone, anywhere until the end of hostilities on a whim. This case will probably make its way to the Supreme Court,” the plaintiffs acknowledged in their introduction.
From there, President Obama’s opponents in federal court combed through hundreds of posts to answer questions regarding the NDAA over the course of several hours. And although the plaintiffs have not exactly been silent with the status of their fight since suing the White House earlier this year, the insight they offered on Reddit provided a fresh update on the case against the NDAA amid some of the government’s most unusual legal maneuvers yet.
Offering his take on the case, Hedges said that he even believes the NDAA’s indefinite detention clause is already being used to imprison Americans, “because they filed an emergency appeal.”
“If the Obama administration simply appealed it, as we expected, it would have raised this red flag,” Hedges added.“But since they were so aggressive it means that once Judge Forrest declared the law invalid, if they were using it, as we expect, they could be held in contempt of court. This was quite disturbing, for it means, I suspect, that US citizens, probably dual nationals, are being held in military detention facilities almost certainly overseas and maybe at home.”
“The signing statement is the most ridiculous part to this for me. He writes this statement saying he’s not happy about the power existing, but then his administration fights so hard to keep that specific power in place,” Reddit user devilrobotjesus responded.
“If Obama didn’t want it to happen, he would not have signed it, especially after stating that he would veto it,” co-counsel Carl Mayer explained. Mayer has represented the plaintiffs in the case of Hedges v. Obama and said that he plans on continuing his pursuit to take indefinite detention off the books.
“We will do whatever it takes,” Mayers added. “We are prepared for a Supreme Court battle.”
Activist and journalist Tangerine Bolen is also insistent on prevailing over the Obama administration, but says “The biggest obstruction to our winning this case … is our broken systems.” Bolen blames a lack of media coverage, insufficient public awareness “and the government behaving very badly, even in court, on the record,” for the difficulties the plaintiffs have had to endure, adding that the Obama administration’s constant missteps have been noticed by no one except “seven plaintiffs, four attorneys, one federal judge and the activists who have been following this case.”
“Amazing,” she added.
Journalist Chris Hedges extrapolated on Bolen’s opinion, singling out “a corporate-owned system of information” for not informing Americans that they can be imprisoned without trial at this very moment.
“MSNBC, which is a propaganda arm of the Democratic establishment, just as Fox is a propaganda arm of the Republican establishment, is not going to raise this as Obama is as guilty as Romney. If we had a healthy press this would have gotten more coverage, although the print media, and in particular my old paper the NY Times, finally did good coverage,” Hedges wrote.
Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department employee who achieved notoriety a generation earlier by leaking what became known as the Pentagon Papers, agreed that the system is severely in fault in this instance.
“Virtually every public institution has failed us gravely. Not only the executive, but the courts, congress, most of the media and most of the churches,” Ellsberg wrote on Reddit. “Radical reform is needed, even to the point of non-violent revolution. “
Source

Americans already detained under NDAA?

September 28, 2012

The plaintiffs that are suing US President Barack Obama over his insistence on keeping the National Defense Authorization Act on the books said Thursday that they fear Americans are already being held indefinitely and without trial under the NDAA.

US President Barack Obama refrained from even once commenting on his efforts to keep his power to indefinitely detain Americans without charge when he appeared on Reddit.com recently and urged users to “Ask Me Anything.” His opponents in the matter aren’t shying away from speaking up online, though.

The plaintiffs in the case to ban the White House from imprisoning Americans indefinitely without trial or due justice took to Reddit on Thursday to answer questions involving the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012, or the NDAA, and blamed corrupt media and a broken governmental establishment for letting the Obama administration maintain its to book Americans in military prisons without charge.

On December 31, 2011, President Obama authorized the NDAA, and with it he approved a controversial provision that permits the government to indefinitely detain US citizens without trial for mere allegations of ties to suspected terrorists. Journalists and activists filed a lawsuit against the president earlier this year over the provision, Section 1021, which US Federal Judge Katherine Forrest in turn agreed was unconstitutional. Last month Judge Forrest decided that anearlier, temporary injunction on the clause should be made permanent, but the Obama Justice Department pleaded for an emergency stay only hours later. A lone federal appeals judge has since heard that plea and has momentarilyblocked Judge Forrest’s injunction. Now pending the results of an appeals panel’s formal investigation, the NDAA’s indefinite detention provision remains on the books.

On Thursday, the plaintiffs in the case — journalist Chris Hedges, activist Tangerine Bolen, Pentagon Papers leaker Dan Ellsberg, their attorneys and others — told users of Reddit to ask them anything.

“The Obama DOJ has vigorously opposed these efforts, and immediately appealed her ruling and requested an emergency stay on the injunction – claiming the US would incur ‘irreparable harm’ if the president lost the power to use Section 1021 – and detain anyone, anywhere until the end of hostilities on a whim. This case will probably make its way to the Supreme Court,” the plaintiffs acknowledged in their introduction.

From there, President Obama’s opponents in federal court combed through hundreds of posts to answer questions regarding the NDAA over the course of several hours. And although the plaintiffs have not exactly been silent with the status of their fight since suing the White House earlier this year, the insight they offered on Reddit provided a fresh update on the case against the NDAA amid some of the government’s most unusual legal maneuvers yet.

Offering his take on the case, Hedges said that he even believes the NDAA’s indefinite detention clause is already being used to imprison Americans, “because they filed an emergency appeal.”

“If the Obama administration simply appealed it, as we expected, it would have raised this red flag,” Hedges added.“But since they were so aggressive it means that once Judge Forrest declared the law invalid, if they were using it, as we expect, they could be held in contempt of court. This was quite disturbing, for it means, I suspect, that US citizens, probably dual nationals, are being held in military detention facilities almost certainly overseas and maybe at home.”

“The signing statement is the most ridiculous part to this for me. He writes this statement saying he’s not happy about the power existing, but then his administration fights so hard to keep that specific power in place,” Reddit user devilrobotjesus responded.

“If Obama didn’t want it to happen, he would not have signed it, especially after stating that he would veto it,” co-counsel Carl Mayer explained. Mayer has represented the plaintiffs in the case of Hedges v. Obama and said that he plans on continuing his pursuit to take indefinite detention off the books.

“We will do whatever it takes,” Mayers added. “We are prepared for a Supreme Court battle.”

Activist and journalist Tangerine Bolen is also insistent on prevailing over the Obama administration, but says “The biggest obstruction to our winning this case … is our broken systems.” Bolen blames a lack of media coverage, insufficient public awareness “and the government behaving very badly, even in court, on the record,” for the difficulties the plaintiffs have had to endure, adding that the Obama administration’s constant missteps have been noticed by no one except “seven plaintiffs, four attorneys, one federal judge and the activists who have been following this case.”

“Amazing,” she added.

Journalist Chris Hedges extrapolated on Bolen’s opinion, singling out “a corporate-owned system of information” for not informing Americans that they can be imprisoned without trial at this very moment.

“MSNBC, which is a propaganda arm of the Democratic establishment, just as Fox is a propaganda arm of the Republican establishment, is not going to raise this as Obama is as guilty as Romney. If we had a healthy press this would have gotten more coverage, although the print media, and in particular my old paper the NY Times, finally did good coverage,” Hedges wrote.

Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department employee who achieved notoriety a generation earlier by leaking what became known as the Pentagon Papers, agreed that the system is severely in fault in this instance.

“Virtually every public institution has failed us gravely. Not only the executive, but the courts, congress, most of the media and most of the churches,” Ellsberg wrote on Reddit. “Radical reform is needed, even to the point of non-violent revolution. “

Source

What do you think we could do in America with the $280+ million dollars being spent on the Presidential campaigns? I’d go as far to say (and it really isn’t a stretch) that we could do ALOT more with that money than electing either of these imperialist men will do. For sure. Things like feed the hungry or build better trains or fix broken bridges or go to Mars or fight AIDS or research cancer. Things that matter. All this money might as well be burned. It just makes me sad.

Pakistani protests voice resistance to U.S./NATO imperialism
July 06, 2012
The Pakistani government’s decision to unblock supply routes for NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan has been met with harsh criticism from several religious and political parties, who staged demonstrations across the country to protest the measure. Hundreds marched through the cities of Quetta, Lahore and Karachi, where protesters burnt the portrait of President Barack Obama, U.S.and NATO flags. Participants at the rally were also holding placards and banners inscribed with anti-U.S. slogans.A demonstration was also held in capital Islamabad, in which the speakers demanded the government to withdraw its decision of reopening the NATO supply line.The speakers expressed serious concerns over the government’s decision to allow arms supply for Afghan security forces, saying that it will pave the way for Pakistan’s involvement in the Afghan war.
Source

Pakistani protests voice resistance to U.S./NATO imperialism

July 06, 2012

The Pakistani government’s decision to unblock supply routes for NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan has been met with harsh criticism from several religious and political parties, who staged demonstrations across the country to protest the measure.

Hundreds marched through the cities of Quetta, Lahore and Karachi, where protesters burnt the portrait of President Barack Obama, U.S.and NATO flags. Participants at the rally were also holding placards and banners inscribed with anti-U.S. slogans.

A demonstration was also held in capital Islamabad, in which the speakers demanded the government to withdraw its decision of reopening the NATO supply line.

The speakers expressed serious concerns over the government’s decision to allow arms supply for Afghan security forces, saying that it will pave the way for Pakistan’s involvement in the Afghan war.

Source

big-smokedog asked:

so who are you going to vote for the election

I’ll probably vote for a third party progressive candidate. Voting in this country seems about as useful as praying (*hint: not very useful) to me but I’m going to vote because some people dismiss your opinions entirely if you don’t. And when I make the argument that voting isn’t very useful because the system is rigged I want to be able to say: “Don’t get me wrong, I voted. It just didn’t do anything.”